Rosie DeLight is in trouble. The performance artist, biologist, and hot sauce extraordinaire is due on the Capitol theatre stage in two days. Three weeks ago, one of her back up dancers had to back out. “Do you want to do it?” she asks me. DeLight is instinctively charming and I am all in.
One month ago, we meet for the first time at the Ymir store. She is wearing combat boots, and her thick orange hair is worn down long in a cascade of curls. She is charming and unaware of her beauty, possessing a captivating and quirky way of storytelling.
Burlesque, the art of sensuality, is about being vulnerable and true to yourself. Burlesque came to North America over a century ago and there is still a thriving scene here in the Kootenays. Prepare yourself for a post pandemic revival of neo burlesque for three nights, culminating with a show on Sept. 10 at the Capitol Theatre in Nelson, A Sensational Vaudeville Affair.
The Grand Gala at the Capitol Theatre will be featuring The Foxy Lexxy Brown, Kidd Crimson, Ms. Rosie Delight, Deja Louve, the spirit of Scarlet Mary Rose, A Pantomime Horse, Charece Arial, Cherie Coquette, Coco Crème and Ivy Nyx, Deja Louve, DeVery Bess, Donna Boss Rogers, Faye Havoc, Sweetheart, Vivian Brass, with Special Host Belle Jumelles. There will be burlesque workshops all weekend at Studio Alive! for those interested in the art form. DeLight will be dancing to honour the spirit of Scarlet Mary Rose.
DeLight has been misrepresented by the media before, painted as a stereotype of a disabled person rather than a sensitive being using burlesque to express herself. She has been challenged in life with a genetic movement disorder called paroxysmal dyskinesia, placed on permanent disability for two years. Being physically vulnerable affects you mentally. There were times in her life when she couldn’t even walk, but her disorder is now managed. “I was so busy trying to survive in trauma brain that my brilliance got dampened.”
Enter the art of burlesque. You don’t have to be a professional dancer, or a conventionally beautiful person to create for this particular art form. Burlesque welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning, intersex, asexual, two-spirit, and the countless affirmative ways in which people choose to self-identify. Burlesque welcomes every race.
You can be an ex–professional athlete who is told they can never play again and perform burlesque. You can be dying of cancer and perform burlesque. You can be plus size, teeny tiny, a burn victim, and/or anything in between. You can have mental health struggles, addiction, and trauma. Burlesque is unity in diversity.
The second time we meet it is at the Ymir store. DeLight is wearing a polka dotted dress, synched at the waist with a flared skirt, her orange curls are up in a messy bun. She buys me a kombucha and we walk down by the river and chat again. DeLight is kind, empathetic and easy to talk to, listening to me as much as I listen to her. She makes me laugh out loud. Later DeLight introduces me to back up dancer Katalina Devulva, and we rehearse to Nazareth’s Love Hurts.
It is time to get your tickets as they are selling fast. The Salmo Teaser is sold out. Sept. 9’s Tease on Tap at the Royal has tickets left as well as Sept. 10 Grand Gala at the Capitol Theatre.