Meet Burlesque bombshell Miss Queeny Ives, a 28 year old Post-Doctoral Researcher in Public Health. This inspiring Siren talks about being a queer woman of colour and how Burlesque allows her to express herself creatively. 
 

How long have you been dancing Burlesque and Lyra?
I have been dancing Burlesque for 4 and a half months and also Lyra for 4 and a half months.

Did you feel nervous before your first lesson?
Absolutely! I had come from previous experiences of dance environments where there had not been an emphasis on inclusivity and where I had often felt like the odd one out due to my visible difference and queerness. This had, in turn, discouraged me for a number of years from re-engaging in dance training despite it being a true love, instead limiting myself to casual classes where I could be more anonymous. On my first interactions with Sky Sirens staff and students, however, I was genuinely surprised to be greeted with warmth, support and excitement of my enrolment in classes there.

What obstacles have you faced being a queer woman of colour? How has this impacted on your self-love and body image?
As a queer woman of colour and migrant to Australia I have experienced a range of challenges across my life including discrimination and exclusion due to my visible and invisible differences. For example when accessing education, through everyday interactions in difference social spaces, both mainstream and diverse, as well as facing ongoing societal pressures to conform to mainstream measures of ‘normality’. These experiences have in turn shaped the way in which I have often negatively perceived myself in the past, especially growing up and as a young adult. It has taken many years of inward reflection, mentoring from strong, diverse women and exposure to a range of feminist and queer literature to shift this perception to one of self-love: actively embracing my multiple points of difference and using my lived experiences to try and advocate for and support others in minority positions. 

How does dancing Burlesque make you feel?
I love the way that burlesque enables me to openly explore and express my sexuality and inner strength while feeling physically beautiful. Instead of having to only reveal certain parts of myself, which is common place in many mainstream spaces and activities to ensure safety and inclusion, through burlesque I am able to celebrate my many points of visible and invisible difference, and feel confident that my multiple identities are being represented and embraced.

What do you enjoy most about coming to class?
Every time I come to class I cherish the opportunity to be challenged and grow as a dancer. I have gained so much already from the staff at Sky Sirens who are all highly experienced and so generous with their wisdom. I also have found Sky Sirens to be an inclusive environment for learning and growth, which has in turn helped in reigniting my passion for dance.

How would you define Self-Love?
The ability to understand, nurture and celebrate your own uniqueness and diversity, and share your lived experiences of self-love to enable others to care for and have pride in their own differences.

What is your most beautiful physical feature, and why?
Following many years struggling with a negative body image, which resulted ill health, I have come a long way to beginning to truly love my naturally curvy body shape, back handles and all! It has been a long journey of reprogramming years of harmful thought patterns around what ‘beauty’ is. This process has been fundamental in shifting my understanding of the value of diverse bodies and the importance and beauty of my own unique body.

What advice would you give a Burlesque or Lyra virgin who was nervous about signing up?
Get in touch with staff at Sky Sirens today! And feel confident that you will be in safe and nurturing hands. Not only will you gain so much for coming to classes in terms of learning a new skill or enhancing an old one, you will get the chance to meet a wonderfully diverse and dynamic group of inspiring staff and students and grow as an individual while having a crazy amount of fun in the process!

We could not have created such a beautiful project without the help of our amazing Photographer Emma from The Black Light.
The delicious Siren Hair & Makeup is credit to Miss Dahlia Daye, Miss Katia Schwartz, Miss Arlena King, Miss Lauren Ingram, Miss Sinead Rochford and Miss Sophie Marie.
The gorgeous 'Behind the Scenes' Photography by The Pixel Pixie.
This project was Art Directed and created by Miss Katia Schwartz.
 

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