While events like the Secret Feast excel at showcasing Townsville locations, another local institution with sell-out shows finds it hard to be supported by venues in the first place.
The VaVoom Room is Townsville’s newest dance studio, with the studio’s Burlesque Instructors previously venue-hopping to host their classes. The company now has a place to call home and performs to massive crowds at the Sovereign Hotel every few weeks – however when it comes to organising headliner shows, VaVoom Room Owner Vivienne Starr said most other venues refused to get on board.
“I think the marketing in Townsville is difficult: when we talk to people about our classes, some people think Burlesque is just stripping and don’t want to be a stripper. They don’t know the difference,” said Vivienne.
“For our last headliner show, we were trying to find a venue, and I was turned down by four places – they said they didn’t want that kind of stuff there. But it’s because none of them were willing to comprehend what Burlesque was. In the end, I walked into the Herbert and asked if I could hire their function space and they were all for it.
“We advertised the tickets and they sold out in 10 days. There’s a demand there, people want to see Burlesque. But then you have women thinking it’s stripping or that they don’t have the right body for it, or the venues themselves who aren’t willing to host our events because they associate it with stripping too.
“Burlesque incorporates all different styles of dance under its umbrella. It is whatever people want it to be, but by definition means to jest: so is a performance with a little comedy in it and the art of the tease. You’re not taking all your clothes off: you’re just teasing that you may take them off when in reality you won’t.”
Despite the unfair stereotype associated with the performance style, the VaVoom Room’s Burlesque performances are selling out – audiences are on board, but local venues still need to be convinced.