Introducing budding Burlesque beauty, Miss Cordelia Rose. This 28 year old British boss-babe by day talks about her love affair with dance and reveals how being bullied in her teenage years impacted her body image and self appreciation.
How long have you been dancing Burlesque and Lyra?
I have been dancing Lyra for six months and Burlesque for nine months.
Did you feel nervous before your first lesson?
I did feel nervous, especially when starting Lyra as it looked so acrobatic and I’ve never been flexible or good at gymnastics. However when I attended Nightcap to watch a friend perform, I was assured that I had nothing to fear. The atmosphere at Nightcap was endlessly supportive and positive that I just knew that my first class would be a feel-good one and the start of a new and exciting hobby.
What obstacles have you faced as a victim of bullying? How has this impacted on your self-love and body image?
I think everyone faces discrimination and judgement from others at some point in their life. I was bullied quite severely in school and as I hit my teenage years I was something of an ugly duckling. I was overweight, riddled with acne and oily skin. I remember wishing that I looked like the other girls in my class, the popular ones who looked like film stars. There were so many days I would go home and cry because I felt that I couldn’t fit in. I was so self-conscious and that made it difficult for me to make friends. I found solace in alternative styles and appreciation in the weird and wonderful. I think that was intimidating for some of my peers so they lashed out at me for my style choices. One day I was followed home by some girls in the year above me, they spat on me and called me ‘black clothes’… as if that was something to be ashamed of. I left that particular school not long afterward, I knew that I couldn’t continue to surround myself with such negative and small minded people. The next school I went to gave me a whole new lease of life and I began to flourish, my confidence grew as did my outgoing personality.
How does dancing Burlesque and Lyra make you feel?
Burlesque makes me feel powerful, adventurous and glamorous! It transports me to a world of beauty and old fashioned glamour. I feel extremely feminine and sexy when I’m dancing Burlesque because I can become any character I desire. It’s a chance to explore a range of motions both physically and in terms of performance. I have the opportunity to be comedic, sexy, scary or cute on separate occasions or all at once! There are so many options with Burlesque, it’s a dance class where you can be the director, choreographer, seamstress, props hand and star of the show all rolled into one.
Lyra makes me feel strong – I love testing the boundaries to see what my body can do. The challenges keep me motivated and it’s wonderful to have something physical to work towards each week. I haven’t tested myself like this since I left education 8 years ago and I don’t think I have ever tested my body before in this way. I never considered myself to be flexible or strong in the past and now I have seen myself go from strength to strength each week, learning moves that I never considered being able to achieve. I have noticed that my progress also inspires others. People from school have messaged me to congratulate me on my new found skills via social media, with positive comments and confessions that they wish they had the courage to start. My reply is always that it is never too late, ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’, trust me you won’t regret it!
What do you enjoy most about coming to class?
Every time I come to class, I leave feeling better than when I walked in because spending time with the beautiful women at Sky Sirens makes me happy. The girls are always there to help you get a move you’ve been struggling with or to lend an ear to your latest life troubles over a cup of tea. My favourite thing about class is the community. I have never been to a dance school like Sirens where there is so much camaraderie, the only race at Sirens is with yourself - I have never once felt in competition with another student.
How would you define Self-Love?
Self-Love is so complex! It's accepting your own flaws and forgiving yourself. Once you realise and embrace the fact that no one is perfect inside or out you can start to love the bad as well as the good. I know that I am not the quickest at learning moves and I get easily frustrated with this! But I love the fact that I always pull it off in the end because I work hard and persevere during practice time so by the time Nightcap rolls around I am set and ready to go!
To start loving yourself deeply means to stop judging yourself and comparing to others. I no longer feel the need to look like the other girls in my class at school. I’m proud to look like me! Unique and beautiful with curves, piercings, tattoos (even with my oily breakouts!). I love myself and I forgive myself for harshly judging my appearance when I was younger. More importantly, I can finally forgive those who caused me so much pain in the past.
What is your most beautiful physical feature, and why?
My eyes are the most beautiful thing about me. They are green which is an unusual colour, but more importantly they do not hide what I’m thinking or feeling. My eyes are my most expressive feature - they are an open book!
What advice would you give a Burlesque or Lyra virgin who was nervous about signing up?
Please take a deep breath and realise that you have nothing to lose. There is no harm done in attending a class - even if you decide you don’t like it at least you tried. You only regret the things in life that you don’t do. You have so much to gain in terms of friends, skills, growth and confidence. You will be amazed at how quickly you can progress with the support of amazing women around you! Say hello when you get here...