Burlesque Festival Interview – Miss Sapphire Snow of Peaches ‘n’ Gin Burlesque
by Clara Rose Santilli
Finally, an interview with a local celebrity and my very first guest star that isn’t a cronut…
Clara (in bold): I first saw you perform back at the Miss Fisher’s Speakeasy event at the historic Z-Ward asylum, you were easily the most beautiful and glamorous lady at the asylum. What goes into creating a persona like Sapphire Snow and crossing that line from performer to artist?
Sapphire Snow is a part of myself that has always been there; like an exaggerated version of that part of me. When I come up with new acts or looks or ideas, I just think of what I’d like to do and I start working on it and hope that there are people out there that like the same things as I do.
What training did you have as a dancer?
I was a synchronized swimmer for 11 years, growing up in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and when I moved to Australia in 2004 I did a little bit of ballroom dancing, but very soon I switched to Swing Dancing, which I loved and I got hooked on it immediately! I started teaching it after a few months and that taught me a lot about my own dancing and movement. I also took lots of workshops and private lessons with interstate and international dancers, and competed in many competitions. Around 2008 a few of my interstate friends had started doing Burlesque and I loved the idea of not always being attached to a partner when dancing. I did a lot of sewing in those days and I enjoyed making my own costumes and coming up with funny concepts and I just tried things out.. I think I’ve only ever taken three burlesque workshops; with Peekaboo Pointe, Pearl Noire and Indigo Blue, all through the Australian Burlesque Festival.
I was wondering how you chose your stage name and what a burlesque dancer should consider in choosing her persona?
It took me ages to decide on a stage name! Eventually I chose Sapphire, because Bombay Sapphire was my favourite gin at the time (yes… I love gin) and I picked Snow, because it kept coming up on this online burlesque name generator and I felt it matched my pale hair/complexion and I liked the alliteration. It was years later that I found out my birthstone is a Sapphire!
Who are your main influences?
At first, I was inspired by the women that ran Sugar Blue Burlesque in Perth; I knew them through swing dancing and loved what they had started doing.
I then found out about Dita Von Teese and read her book on Burlesque, then I read Jo Weldon’s handbook of Burlesque and then I roamed YouTube for the old black and white videos of all the burlesque legends.
I don’t feel like anyone in particular influences me at this point; I just have an admiration for some performers, local, national and international, for their originality and love for the art of burlesque. I believe that everyone is unique and that is what burlesque highlights and I love it!
It’s clear you’ve had years of athletic training; how did you find yourself transforming from burlesque student to being at the pinnacle of performers in SA and opening the school, Peaches n Gin?
As I mentioned before; I used to do synchronized swimming and swing dancing.
I was never a burlesque student before starting Peaches ’n’ Gin Burlesque; a few friends and I got together and just decided to start doing burlesque together.
One of them quickly dropped out and Luna, Ria and I came up with the name Peaches ’n’ Gin Burlesque. We started performing and after a while we thought that others might want to learn to do burlesque, so we opened the Academy! It is the longest-running academy with regular burlesque classes in SA.
If someone was interested in learning Burlesque or the other styles of dance you offer, what sort courses can they consider at Peaches n Gin in June and July?
I’ve got beginners courses starting on the 4th and 6th of July, and the 3-week courses will start again on the 26th of July. Those courses range from GoGo to feather or silk fan, 1920’s Charleston and more!
And if they are too shy to start right away, what performance would you recommend for the audience member new to Burlesque come see in June and July to capture a taste of the art form?
This Sunday the 19th of June I’ve got Club Burlesk on – the longest-running regular monthly burlesque show in SA! Then on Thursday the 30th of June there is Bloomers – the student showcase – a perfect show to watch for those that might be interested in trying some burlesque for themselves, with the next beginner courses starting the week after.
On Saturday the 16th of July you can see 8 competitors compete for the title of Miss Burlesque South Australia! It’ll be an exciting night full of incredible performance and lots of fun.
I’ve seen the gorgeous pictures of you through your Facebook feed and wonder what you consider the one essential ingredient that an ordinary woman like me, can add to her daily routine to be glamorous like you?
The most essential ingredient for glamour / confidence is believing in yourself 🙂
And a little bit of glitter; glitter is always great 😀
Interview by Clara Rose (edited slightly for clarity by Dr. Michael Ewans).
Photos copyright by Charlie Nicholson at Can Photography facebook.com/CharlieNicholsonPhotography
Sapphire Snow can be contacted through her email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out the Peaches n Gins Burlesque Facebook page at facebook.com/peachesngin
Phone: 0416 542 446