Forget the Big Apple for the land of opportunities; London is where eccentricity meets classical, where anything and everything happens, where your craziest dreams and fantasies can come to life. If London is not the land of opportunities, it is the world's biggest stage for performers to showcase their individuality.
And so, the Neo Burlesque Awards, at the Empire Casino, Leicester Square, opens the doors to newcomers, performing for a small audience, hoping to be voted the best on the night, in order to reach the grand finale in November, at Madame Jojo's.
We revel at the knowledge that up and down the capital city, a multitude of events are taking place, offering the public a view of what can be achieved when someone dreams of the impossible to become possible.
Created by Sharon Kay, the Neo Burlesque Awards is an event where, every second Thursday of the month, a few performers enter the stage to seduce the audience. It is a small affair in the Shadow Bar of the Empire Casino, but because many of the spectators come to support the performers, it is a very friendly atmosphere.
The compère for the night, the Divine MissEm, is no sweet shy hostess. The red-haired fiery femme fatale, will turn from latex lover dominatrix, cracking her whip, to sensual seductress, making your heart race with her powerful beautiful voice.
Tonight, she welcomes eight contestants owning the stage with their personal number, impressing the audience, and hoping to win their place at the final.
Burlesque is synonym of 'anyone can be who they want to be', where all shapes and sizes are equally as attractive, pleasing the array of spectators that burlesque attracts. And it was certainly so tonight, for the audience applauded, with fervour, each performer, as they presented the most varied of acts: from ballet, rock'n'roll, fans and polka dots, to tassel twirling acts.
These newcomers into the burlesque realm gave everything of themselves, and it was obvious that they enjoyed the attention they received, as the applause filled the room. A nerve-racking experience, it could be, but these performers seemed to have glided through with delight and exhilaration.
The contest was judged not only by tonight's three judges, Sharon Kay, Peggy De Lune and May Den-Voyage, but also the audience, who very avidly submitted their favourite name at the end of the show. As with all contests, the waiting is done while socialising; a time to chat to friends and meet new faces. An event that seems to be a bit more personal, but as London is not just about the big stage, what better place to spend a Thursday night, being entertained by friends, or friends of friends?
Why not be a judge yourself, and vote for your favourite act? Shows appear every month until the grand final in November. For a list of all shows, procure yourself the Burlesque Map London, at www.burlesquemap.co.uk, where you will find all listings and all information needed.
Support this fabulous wave of performers, and if not, why not become one yourself!
Schools are listed on the Map, so if you have what it takes, give it a go!!
Photography by: JAMES DRURY
Coeur de Plume
Penny De Fleur
Siren de la Soirée
With Judges: Peggy De Lune and May Den-Voyage