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Burlesque dancer Amber Topaz on her new show at Chelmsford Civic Theatre
Headlining hit touring stage show An Evening of Burlesque, Amber Topaz was born to perform.
The fun-loving beauty reveals she has slipped into her role as one of the top artistes on London’s thriving West End burlesque scene just as easily as she slips out of her many couture costumes in the popular show.
“It never even occurred to me as a career path when I came down to London to study musical theatre,“ she says. Indeed, Amber didn’t even give it a second thought when she performed as Gipsy Rose Lee in an assessment while studying at the London Studio Centre.
“My introduction to earning a living in the performing arts was quite traditional,“ she says.
“It all changed when I was asked to do a photo shoot as a 1940s/50s pin-up. The photographer happened to mention I should do burlesque.“ When she did, Amber describes the experience as “osmosis“.
“I’d had no lessons in burlesque, at that time there weren’t any. I used my song and dance training and sense of humour to create elaborate routines with a storyline.“ Amber has been among the pioneers who have re-invented burlesque, stripping away any stigma attached to the art form. Dubbed the Yorkshire Tease, Amber says burlesque gives her the freedom of expression that she found lacking in the traditional West End roles that are available to performers.
“It was starting to get a bit routine,“ she says. “I was a cog in a wheel. With burlesque, I could be a lot more creative and I built up quite a big repertoire. What was brilliant was being able to sing what I wanted, dance how I wanted and wear whatever costumes I wanted.“
Although the show is over-18s only, Amber insists it’s all about innuendo and sauce.
“This burlesque is more like a variety show and less intimate than people think. It definitely is not a striptease show. There is fan dancing and show-tunes, great music and some audience participation. Think seaside postcards,“ she smiles.
An Evening of Burlesque, Chelmsford Civic Theatre, Fairfield, Chelmsford, on Friday, April 4. Details: 01245 606505, chelmsford.gov.uk/theatre