Arbor Heights’ Own Miss Inga Ingénue Taking Burlesque To New Heights
One of the oldest forms of entertainment has seen a resurgence in recent years, flourishing in all its glory, entwined with modern influence, verve and brazen roar from its early days of backroom enticement to its current place as one of Seattle’s favorite forms of entertainment…Burlesque.
One of the neo-burlesque rising superstars is a lovely lady from our neighborhood, no other than Miss Inga Ingénue. I recently was able to speak with Miss Ingenue (which, trust me…with a jet-setting schedule like hers, is no easy task) as she welcomed me into her glittering world of the art of burlesque through how she got her start:
Q: What got you started in the performing arts?
A: The movie “Singin’ In The Rain” . . . when I was a kid, I wanted to dance like Gene Kelly and look like a show girl. I started taking dance lessons when I was three years old at a studio in White Center called Dance Workshop, run by a lovely woman named Evelyn Kier and her daughter Susan Wright, a former dance trainer for Olympic athletes. I studied ballet, jazz, tap and modern dance with Ms. Wright until I was 19, when I was accepted into the dance program at Oberlin College in Ohio. I studied modern dance intensively there for a year; a back injury brought me back to Seattle when I was 20. I stopped dancing altogether for a few years; until one day a friend took me to see a burlesque show at the Rendezvous in Belltown . . . I was hooked! After that, I started going to as many burlesque shows as I could find. I landed a volunteer gig as a pick-up girl at a burlesque show in Pioneer Square–I would go on stage after every act and pick up performers’ discarded costumes. Now, five years later, I perform and teach all over the country! I can’t believe that this is my life–I pinch myself every morning!
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I grew up in south Arbor Heights, right on the border between Arbor Heights and White Center.
Q: Where do get the ideas for the wide variety of acts that you perform?
A: Everywhere! Music, TV, fashion, colors, objects, people–anything I find interesting or funny will usually get incorporated into an act/costume/hairpiece at some point.
Q: Do you have a favorite piece that you like to do? Why?
A: My most recent favorite solo piece is my “Archetype Act”. I debuted at the Seattle Erotic Art Festival this last May, and I’ll be performing it again at The Blue Moon Cabaret at El Gaucho this summer. It’s a 6min long piece involving opera, techno, the Muppets, Kate Nash, and three gorgeous costumes that were hand made for me! Epic! I love performing it because I get to play three distinct female sexual archetypes in one act: innocent, vampy, and carnal. In the end . . . well, you’ll just have to see it to find out 😉 I perform my favorite group number with my troupe Dance Belt (www.dancebeltusa.com) – we learn music video choreography and perform and teach it at The Century Ballroom in Seattle, such as Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. We recently learned the choreography to Beyonce’s “Ego” video–I’m obsessed with it! It’s SO sexy!
Q: What would you like people to know about Burlesque that they may not know already?
A: Burlesque is the art of “tease” as expressed through movement, costume, and direct relation to an audience. It’s intended, like most forms of theater, to take an audience on a journey–the nudity and rhinestones just make for a more interesting trip.
Q: Do you have a role model in the industry that you look up to?
A: I have two role models in the Burlesque world, and I’m very lucky to work with both of them regularly: Miss Indigo Blue and Waxie Moon
Q: You have been noted as having amazing costumes (http://winkthemovie.com/), where do you get them?
A: Up until recently, I made all of my own costumes. This year I’ve been fortunate enough to have several costumes made for me by an amazing costume designer named Danial Webster (dwdonline.com), including my spectacular new “Archetype Act” costumes.
Q: You are obviously in great shape, what is a normal workout routine for you?
A: Wow, thank you! I take kick boxing and yoga classes two to four times a week . . . depending on the week 😉
Q: What has been your favorite part of being on the Sin on Heels Tour?
A: I had a great time on the Sin On Heels tour! I wouldn’t change a thing! The best part about it was getting to work with the other fantastic artists who were booked–it was like going on a sparkly road trip with my best friends.
Q: What do you have coming up next?
A: I’m currently choreographing an entire show called “SHINE: The Burlesque Musical”! Come see it! It will play at Theatre Off Jackson July 8-11 and 15-18. www.shinemusical.com
Here are some videos of Inga in action (WARNING: some Readers find these “offensive” but we disagree):
All Photos are by www.DeboraSpencer.com.