Academy of Burlesque & Cabaret is run by Gypsy Charms and Viva Misadventure, both of whom have a wealth of experience in performing and teaching, and draw upon their joint strengths in burlesque and cabaret to provide high-quality instruction and performance in both. They bring glamour, style and a naughty sense of humour to their work. Gypsy, based in Edinburgh, Scotland is a specialist in burlesque striptease, and Viva, a former international showgirl now based in Cardiff, Wales, brings her expertise in show-stopping cabaret dance styles to the partnership.
They teach various styles of performance art that herald from the cabaret and variety theatres, including burlesque in its many and varied forms. They feel burlesque is as much about acting as it is about movement; escaping for a while to become a 40s femme fatale, a wartime pin-up or a modern-day Pussycat Doll.
Gypsy and Viva are also a force to be reckoned with as performers, and can be seen at many of the UK’s finest burlesque events, club nights and have a strong presence on the corporate circuit. They are leaders of can-can troupe French Fling, which comprises gymnastic champions and professional dancers, and Enchanté, a showgirl troupe which has bases in Cardiff and Edinburgh.
Gypsy and Viva have judged on panels of international burlesque competitions, have appeared as mentors in TV shows such as ‘How to Look Good Naked’, have starred in one of the world’s leading burlesque instructional DVDs, and Gypsy has recently completed a sociology PhD on striptease.
The dynamic duo see teaching as a performance; their enthusiasm and energy can be seen in the routines they create.
Sarah Vernon (Gypsy Charms) has been creating and teaching burlesque based courses since 2005.
With a background in striptease and having recently successfully completed a PhD on the subject, she is an expert in her field. She has training in a wide range of dance disciplines from ballet to Highland and, in 1992, she gained her ETM qualification and began teaching group fitness classes at the age of 18. Sarah’s strength as a choreographer and teacher lie in her ability to understand her clients. Her background in teaching both men and women, with a wide variety of ages and abilities, has impacted on her teaching method and choreography.
The courses she has created are based on a combination of dance and drama based techniques delivered in a client-focussed structure rather than that of a ‘traditional’ dance class. Central to her work is her belief that everyone can discover their inner performer. The courses she has created reflect in their structure and delivery inclusion and accessibility.
Jane Kelly (Viva Misadventure) joined the company as a director in 2007.
With a decade’s extensive and diverse experience as a production dancer in international revue shows, she has a wealth of professional performance expertise. Working in a specialism that focuses on performance aesthetics has filtered into her choreographic style. Jane’s ability to help clients to create their perfect aesthetic through movement and presentation is evident in her contribution to ABC’s courses. She has created courses around classic cabaret styles such as cancan and showgirl revue that are aimed at both a dance-educated client base and absolute beginners. Her ability to create classes and workshops that are accessible and enjoyable is invaluable to ABC’s mission to create inclusive and engaging products. She is also ETM qualified and has, like Sarah, specialised in teaching adults with a wide range of ages and abilities.