Beaver - Talent Around The Block

I met the beautiful Beaver Galore at the Toronto School of Burlesque, where she teaches Vintage Jazz and Bump N'Grind. Needless to say she had us hooked with her gracefulness and her charm. Today, read more about her experience in the Burlesque industry in Toronto. There is way more than you would expect...

Who are you and what do you do?

Hello, I’m Beaver Galore and I’m a burlesque performer, Cancan dancer, GoGo dancer and cat lover living in Toronto.

How did you come up with your stage name? Could you describe your character?

It’s obvious - I’m Pussy Galore’s younger Canadian cousin! Seriously though, I’m inspired by the classic style of old school 60's burlesque, James Bond is fun so Beaver Galore just seemed to make sense.  I absolutely love old school burlesque.  There’s something about the feel and style of the 60’s I can’t get enough of and try to convey in every performance I do.  

You started performing as a burlesque dancer in 2013, what is your background before then?

I have been dancing all of my life.  I am a professional dancer who was classically trained and was a full-time teacher and choreographer for over 15 years.  I have done ballet, jazz, contemporary, modern, acrobatics, musical theatre, you name it.

How did you end up performing as a burlesque dancer? Who is your inspiration?

I was looking for something new and fun and it all sort of fell into my lap.  I started by being obsessed with watching all of these incredible videos of burlesque superstars of today and then the legends.  My own investigative sleuthing led me to taking classes, going to shows and then performing in the big T.O burlesque community.
The icons are my muses.  These are ladies that lived the life and stripped with style.  Tempest Storm and CandyBarr (and so many others) are just a couple of classic superstars I look to for constant flashes of inspiration.  Contemporary burlesque stars that I love are Michelle L’amour, Perle Noire and Ray Gunn (can’t forget the boys!)

A lot of people are not aware of what burlesque is. How would you describe it?

Burlesque means a lot of different things to different people.  Traditionally it comes from comedy and parody and this still relevant and important in performances today.  Classic burlesque has the traditional parade and peels, teases and glamour.  Neo-burlesque can have the same elements but it can also give social commentary with performance art through movement, makeup, costumes and creativity.

How do you build a show?

Usually my inspiration usually comes from the music first.  Burlesque shows can either be theme based or not, so sometimes my pieces can also be determined by what the show requires (eg – a valentine’s show, superheros, etc…)  But I love creating a piece when a random song leads to a spark of an idea, that cool eureka moment.

What is your favorite part when you are performing?

Those 4-5 minutes on stage are my favorite part of performing.  The anticipation, getting on stage, the heat of the spotlight, hearing the music I have been rehearsing to again and again (but still love) then just letting go.  The best part is connecting with an audience that’s there to see you perform. It goes by so fast, it’s incredible, but at the same time you are so aware of everything that is going on - all 5 of your senses are turned way up.  You can see a tiny rhinestone on the floor while you are peeling your glove while you’re bombarded with whoops and hollers.  All the while your heart’s racing…it’s quite the rush.

You are also mastering the art of French Cancan with the Knickers Kickers, what attracted you to this discipline?

Cancan has a huge, rich history, too much for me to even scratch the surface of.  All I can say is that I share the stage with a great troupe, it’s tons of fun, and scandalous, baby!  Just like burlesque… 

From #girlesque15. Photo by Ruth Gilson. Produced by #greatcanadianburlesque. #cancan #dance by @knickerkickers

What is your best experience on stage so far?

Each performance is its own experiment and they’re all special in their own way.  I don’t want to single just one out.  But in general, I love the backstage craziness, the diverse and eclecticism of the casts you perform with, the cool audience, they all make each experience unique and exciting.

You are part of Naked Girls Reading, could you tell us more about it?

Yes!  Naked Girls Reading started in Chicago by Michelle L’amour and Franky Vivid and it has become an international success. It’s an amazing live event where, well, naked girls read.  For me it is one of the most fulfilling shows I perform in.  I always shake my head on performance day and ask how the hell I got myself into a stage performance where I am totally nude for 2 hours but I love doing it every time.  Happens every 2 months and it’s produced by the illustrious Red Herring.  It’s really quite cool. 

What is the project you are the most proud of?

Personally, my favorite project is my very first burlesque piece called “The Frug”.  It’s based on a dance set-piece in Bob Fosse’s 1966 film Sweet Charity.  The music is legendary and the choreography is genius.  Fosse is my master and his distinctive style of dance and movement make me fall in love with dance all over again every time I see it.  So with “The Frug” I wanted to pay homage to him and Sweet Charity.  What is great is it has become a piece I have become known for and I hope to make it bigger and better every time I perform it.  

To the next hips shaking/stocking peeling wanna-be, what advice would you give?

Take classes, rehearse, go to the shows, be inspired by the art all around us, no matter what form it takes.  Burlesque is about teases and peels but it really comes down to what you want to say to the audience.  Once you figure out what you want to say, find out how you want to say it and articulate in the truest way that honours your creative you.  Oh yeah, practice, practice, practice. 

As everybody will want to see you perform after this, when and where is your next show?

June 18th - Join me and my high-kicking Can-Can Lovelies, the Knicker Kickers at the "Premier’s Choice: Queen’s Park Gets Decadent." Can-can is always about pushing the envelope and questioning the status quo! Join us for a great night of burlesque!

June 20th - Ahoy! My next solo performance is with Naked Girls Reading Toronto presenting "Island Pirates!" I won't be dancing up a storm this time but I'll sharing a lot more of myself with you! This event is not to be missed! Treasure chests & Pirates! Arrrr!

June 26th - Pride and Burlesque hit the stage! I'll be kicking up my skirts at Pride 2015 with The Knicker Kickers! Let your imagination be tempted and teased, Friday, June 26 at the Bud Light South Stage.

Where can we find you?

Easy.  Come and see me performing or admiring my fellow burlesque stars at a few of the usual performance venues.  The Rivoli (Spadina and Queen), CherryCola’s (Bathurst & Queen), The Revival or the Mod Club (College).

If Toronto was a person, what kind would it be?

I wish Toronto was more of a showgirl or boy!  It has attitude and confidence but it needs more sparkle, glamour and humour! 

Last word for the road?

If you are looking for Burlesque in Toronto have no fear.  There are so many shows going on, it’s crazy.  But beware!  Once you check one out, you won’t be able to stop and one day you just might find yourself backstage with 5 seconds to curtain, glitter in your eye and pasties at full power!!!


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