Reigning Queen of Burlesque, Miss Exotic World 2011
Consistently ranked among the Top Burlesque Performers in the World
Dancer, Teacher, and Strip-Tease Artiste
“Delicious” – Seattle Weekly
“Fierce diva” – Village Voice
“Obscenely comedic” – Heeb Magazine
“Assured, Passionate, and Polished” – 21st Century Burlesque
“One of the most Lovable and hard-working women in the genre” – Burlexe
“Indigo is a unique performer with incredible sass and precision. She’s an inspiring entrepreneur and a pioneer in bringing burlesque to new audiences. She is a teacher who entertains while she makes complicated concepts and movement come easily to her students. She rocks my world in every way!”
Entertainer, instructor, and entrepreneur: that sultry bombshell on stage isn’t just your garden-variety Burlesque dancer. She’s Indigo Blue – and beware, this comely coquette will have you aching for more.
For the last two decades, this “neo-burlesque” entertainer has titillated crowds across the world with her wild tassel-twirling techniques and smart, sexy, and funny shows. With a strong dance and theater background and extensive experience as a stripper, Miss Indigo Blue brings sensuality, musicality, eroticism, and humor to her carefully crafted routines. Indigo built her reputation on creative and hilarious surprises, erotic dance skills, detailed and authentic retro 1930’s-1960’s costuming, and naughty reduxes of popular characters like Holly Golightly, Carmen Miranda and Wonder Woman. She is now best known for her lavish wardrobe and perfectly executed classic acts, including tributes to Burlesque Legends Wild Cherry, Patti Waggin and Ricci Cortez and Drag Legend Smokee LeFaux.
Seattle’s burlesque stalwart, Miss Indigo is one of the most sought after performers in the world. Most recently she has graced stages in Vancouver, Toronto, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Helsinki, Stockholm, Basel, Shanghai, Lisbon, Dublin, London, and Amsterdam. She has an extensive national following, having taught and performed in too many major cities to list.
The heavily awarded Miss Indigo is Miss Exotic World 2011, and holds numerous other titles from the Burlesque Hall of Fame including Most Classic 2011, 1st Runner-Up Tassel Twirling 2004, Best Legs 2003, and Little Miss Aftershock 2002. For the last six years running, Miss Indigo has been listed in the Top 50 Burlesque Performers in the world – ranking #7 in 2010 and #2 in 2011. In 2008 she was selected by Heeb Magazine for the “Heeb 100”, won “Sexiest Eyes” at the New York Burlesque Festival, and starred in the critically acclaimed documentary film “A Wink And A Smile” about her Academy of Burlesque.
She is an original member of The Atomic Bombshells, and performs regularly with Verlaine & McCann Presents, and with PaulaNOW Presents.
Indigo donates her performances to four events per year. Annual recipients have included ICON! (Seattle Counseling Center for Sexual Minorities), Burlesque Hall of Fame, Bang4TheBuck (Center for Sex Positive Culture and LifeCycle), and Chocolate For Choice (Planned Parenthood).
Indigo is an entertaining, spontaneous, and witty Emcee. She has expertly hosted evening-length events such as The Atomic Bombshells and House of Verlaine L’Edition Noire, small club gigs such as The Pink Door and Sinner Saint Burlesque, fundraisers like Velocity’s Annual Bash and Bang4TheBuck, as well as major events such as the Texas Burlesque Festival, Seattle Cigar Expo, and Seattle Tattoo Expo.
Indigo has presented and spoken at professional and educational institutions including: Starbuck’s, Hobart & Smith College, Tulane University, Cornish College of the Arts, University of Washington, University of Chicago, International Sex Workers’ Convention, National Women Studies Association Annual Convention
Miss Indigo Blue is also Headmistress of the Academy of Burlesque in Seattle, founder and Executive Director of BurlyCon Burlesque Educational Convention, and the Co-Director of Education at the Burlesque Hall of Fame. Miss Indigo Blue is based in Seattle, WA.
“Legendary” – Orcas News
“She’s Beautiful” – Jake Utti Blog
“Sensational” – Jo Hoffberg
“The Queen of Tassel Twirling” – 21st Century Burlesque
“Captivating” – 21st Century Burlesque
“A shining light of leadership and progress” – 21st Century Burlesque
1 How has the way you’ve been teaching burlesque changed over the years? What changes have you seen in the community
The first class I taught was a survey of Erotic Dances through the ages. I taught it because it interested me and was part of my research into Burlesque. I began teaching Burlesque 101 in 2003 as a 4-week performance intensive with a Recital. There were 4 students, all my friends. It’s now a 5x/year 8-week experience taught by myself, or one of my 4 incredibly talented Instructors at the Academy of Burlesque. The basics of the curriculum are the same, although we have definitely updated the history component as more information has become readily available, and expanded sections like costuming as the technology and trends have shifted.
2 What’s the biggest challenge teaching burlesque?
That one can never teach it all! That’s also the joy. MY personal biggest challenge is with remembering choreography! Thank goodness we have so many talented teachers with better memories than mine!
3 Which do you think is better for students one continuous course lasting several months, or short thematic courses (up to 4-5 meetings)?
Our Burlesque 101 course is our most successful class. It’s a 6-week course with private sessions, group classes, homework, and a Graduation Recital, as well as photos and videos provided in a post-course follow-up session.
4 Do we need pedagogical education to be teaching burlesque?
I think so! Burlesque has its own form, content, and technique – and applying pedagogical strategies is an effective way of conveying it to students.
5 Do you teach burlesque as a dance class or something different?
Burlesque 101 is taught as a transformative theatrical art workshop,
Bump & Grind Dance Class offers the basic techniques of the Burlesque Dance form.
6 Biggest moment of pride?
Seeing my students perform at BHOF, become Headliners, and become teachers themselves.
7 What steps do you take to ensure your classes and workshops are accessible to participants with disabilities/long-term health conditions? How do you adapt your classes for different people? (inclusion)
We are clear about the accessibility/inaccessibility of our space on our website (we have two steps to get in to the building).
We offer accommodations such as alternative movements, opportunity to take breaks/opt out, alternative props, and energetic instruction (send your energy to the right vs. lift your right arm).
8 How do you break down class
Dance classes are structured like a common dance class: Warm-Ups, across-the-floor, choreography, cool down.
9 Where are you based
10 How long have you been teaching
Over 15 years
11 What do you want your students to get from your classes.
I want students to have fun, feel more confident, and enjoy Burlesque!
12 What things do you think people don’t realise about what you do.
I have always had several jobs running at the same time – and it’s always been a hustle! But also, I make time to rest, be with my beloveds, and give of my energy and advice to my friends.
13 Pros and cons of your job
The best part is getting to hire and work with the best instructors in the world to create incredibly transformative experiences for our students. We are all so proud of changing and improving peoples’ lives!
14 What’s your favourite aspect of burlesque to teach?
I LOVE teaching Tassel Twirling! And I love private sessions.
15 Do you embed theory into your teaching?
How could one not?
16 How do you celebrate achievement?
With the words “YES!!!!” often accompanied by jumping up and down and random utterances of “SEXY!”
17 Describe your teaching style in three words.
Transformative, joyful, expert.
18 What do you hope students take away from your lessons?
An uplifted heart, a challenged mind, and a provoked passion
19 Why did you start teaching Burlesque?
I come from a family of artists, teachers, and thinkers. When people asked me to help them learn to do Burlesque, I could not resist!
20 Do you think Burlesque teachers should be experienced Burlesque performers too?
ABSOLUTELY. I think teachers should be working artists, and working performers. At least for the first 10 years of teaching!
21 Do you think we should have accreditation for burlesque teachers?
There’s been much debate and discussion about it. I think methods could be accredited, but Burlesque is about independence and uniqueness, I wouldn’t want to mandate uniformity onto this art form.
22 What do you wish you knew before you started?
That I would be come a Costume Pack Rat!
23 What’s something you teach differently now, compared to when you started?
HISTORY! Our history component has been expanded, evolved, and continues to shift to be inclusive, representative, and inquisitive.
24 Do you teach anything other than burlesque?
I currently also teach visioning and manifestation, and I am working on business curriculum.
25 Who would you love to learn from? Past or present.
Mae West, Beyonce, Seth Godin.
26 How do you talk to your students about what is or isn’t possible as far as being a gigging burlesque performer?
In our Burlesque 101 Post-Course Potluck, we do a “where do I go now” conversation about what folks’ ambitions are. We encourage community involvement, volunteerism, and continuing education to all newer performers. We also offer a Burlesque 202 course for those ready to become more active performers.
27 What’s the most important thing your students have taught you?
They teach me new things all the time – mostly about how endlessly brave we can be, and how powerful the transformative potential of Burlesque is
28 Is your teaching style influenced by other styles of dance/performance? If so, what?
Most influenced by Jazz, but I have a very varied Dance background including Samba, Afro-Brazilian, Afro-Haitian, Ballet, and Contemporary.
29 Who have your favourite teachers been?
Elvia Marta, Suzanne Duckworth, and Wendy Diamond.
30 What is one piece of advice you would give to new performers?
Breathe, make direct eye contact, and do what Tigger Says “fuck ‘em in the heart”.
31 How you deal with different genders in class- do you promote classes as female only? Female identifiers only? Open to all? Do you run any male only/Boylesque classes?
Our classes are open to all humans with bodies (over the age of 21 if performance related, over 18 if not). We offer Boylesque classes, but they are not closed to any type of person – instead, we focus the on Boylesque curriculum and history. Any one can take that class.
32 Are your classes LGBTQIA friendly and how do you make your space LGBTQIA friendly
That’s actually a funny question to me ☺. I think we make our space LGBTQIA friendly by simply being ourselves. Curiously enough, our entire faculty and instruction staff identify as some dimension of LGBTQIA. Not because we hired as such, but simply because these happen to be the talented humans that are drawn to Burlesque in Seattle. Aside from that, we simply don’t tolerate offensive behavior.
This leads me to think…Some folks might say that Burlesque makes them Queer, or even MORE queer than they were before…which I find both hilarious and true! I think that what happens is that Burlesque expands our sense of self, including our understanding of our sexuality and identity.
And I think it’s important to say…What we are focused on right now is remaining sex-worker positive in a time when sexual and erotic labor and practices (and trans & womens’ bodies in particular) are being discriminated against. And of utmost importance to us is to work towards righting the wrongs of racism and transphobia in American culture. Thus, we have been actively working ensure our new staff and faculty hires are folks whose identities may be less-represented in Burlesque, including Trans/Gender non-conforming folks, and People of Color. And, we believe transformation should be accessible to everyone. So, we offer scholarships, work-study, and work-trade opportunities to keep classes accessible to lower-income budding artists.