Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Meet the woman behind StripKnot – burlesque dancing to metal bangers

When you think of burlesque, what do you think of? Was one of those things SlipKnot? Maybe it wasn’t before you read that headline, but now you can learn and enjoy the classic art of burlesque performing to one of the world’s most celebrated masked metalheads – this is dubbed StripKnot. Because RAMzine isn’t like most music reporting outlets, we got a bit curious and spoke to the woman behind this ingenious idea – Trixie Blue. We discussed the ideas behind StripKnot, performing live, and the world of burlesque in 2021.

What is StripKnot – in a nutshell?

StripKnot is something I’ve been wanting to do for a number of years. It’s an amalgamation of different disciplines: striptease, burlesque, and lap-dancing. All conjured up into a concoction of exotic dance and choreography – to SlipKnot, that involves a teeny-tiny bit of striptease.

When you think of burlesque or other exotic dances, you don’t always think of SlipKnot, so what gave you this idea?

Being an absolute metal-head myself. I know that SlipKnot is very popular, I love them, and when I teach burlesque lessons – I usually reference their songs. When I do my students’ faces light up and say they love songs like ‘People= Shit’ and ‘Wait and Bleed’. They would get excited with the idea of dancing to SlipKnot, but we would have to do it to Etta James or something and you can see the disappointment on their faces. So I knew there was something here, something beautiful, that my students would fancy doing so I thought: hang on… let’s do it! Here we go!

Trixie Blue in her usual burly-queen style.

What is it about Slipknot songs that would fit the choreography so well?

Metal, and any sort of erotic sort of genre, go well with it so well because the absolute jammin’ beats, the big drums, the over-driven guitar, the screaming, and shouty vocals, and the excitement of the performers is how electric and erotic performance can be. So it lends itself well to particular tones of performance. And especially SlipKnot, I love it. They have such melodies that get into the depths of your existence, and they just get you going. Anything that has erotic connotations gives you that excited feeling. Teaming them together was a no-brainer really. [Metal is] raw and personal I always think.

Have you contacted anyone from SlipKnot to tell them about it?

Well, they should already know about it (laughs). They are welcome and fully invited, especially Sid Wilson … but no I haven’t at all. I don’t think I’ve even tagged them on social media. I could though, like ‘Hey Corey, you fancy popping along with mate?’ he seems to pop up everywhere though.

Would you do a similar event for another band or style of music?

Absolutely. I was so excited by the launch of StripKnot, the first workshop sold out within an hour, so I had to put a second one on. It’s my preferred style of music, even if it’s not everyone’s taste I can convey the excitement. I’m thinking more bands from that particular era, like 1999 onwards – the sort of niche ‘nu metal’. Bands like Korn, System Of A Down, etc.

You could call it ‘Korn-reography’…?

I love it! I’ll give you credit for that. Maybe even Nirvana, they get used a lot in burlesque tuition, and even Foo Fighters.

So what music do you usually teach or perform to?

As an individual, I’m a full-on metalhead. I use ‘Narassistic Animal’ by Korn (see video below) and ‘Nobody’ by Skindred. They are an amazing band so I’d be up for using their music too. I think it’s really accessible, even for a mainstream burlesque audience because it is so in-your-face but you can get away with it. So I usually go down the melodic metal route, but also the classics as well.

As a live performer, has the past year been difficult for you, or do you feel you have managed?

As a live performer, it has been quite a challenge. The burlesque scene in itself has really adapted to the digital formats of the shows by doing Zoom shows. Working like a real, live show but in the comfort of your own living room. It has been quite a difficult transition. However, now we have these other exotic spaces, and settings, we can perform in has been the silver lining to it all. We know we can adapt and evolve to a digital format. This morning and this afternoon I’ve been doing hosting a digital event online, there are live audiences, phone audiences, it’s great fun.

You also run a school of Burlesque, called House Of Trixie Blue, what advice would you give to someone who might have seen it and what’s to give it a go themselves?

If you’ve seen it on TV or somewhere, and want to give it a go, throw every notion you have of it out the window. It’s a completely different art form with a very rich history and multiple origins. If anyone wanted to do it – bloody go for it. The best thing to do is take up lessons to learn an art form, amalgamate it with your favourite music and go for it. Insert devil-horns here.

So how did you get into burlesque in the first place?

I got into it around 12 years ago. I went to a casino on a night out and saw a poster on the back of a toilet door for burlesque lessons. I’ve already wanted to try it and learn striptease. I was at college learning to be a teacher at the time. I went to lessons and really got into it. I then got asked if I wanted a job with the woman who taught me the rest is history…since then I’ve been around the world taking my kit off for them and it’s been lush.

Did you watch any Slipknot videos or performances for inspiration?

I’m already a little bit obsessed with them as it is. On my YouTube mix, it’s Slipknot songs from every different era. I love Subliminal Verses, it’s unreal. Even so, I used my thought processes and how I feel when I listened to SlipKnot to create choreography that hopefully will inspire others to get into The ‘Knot as I am. It was the last concert I saw before lockdown. Oh V-man, he’s awesome.

You can sign up to StripKnot: Exotic Dance Online Workshop (Beginners) and keep up to date with the event on the Facebook event page, click here.

Neale McGeever
RAMzine Senior Contributor - I'm an entertainment writer ('journalist') from the North East. My favourite bands include Slipknot, Nirvana and Ninja Sex Party... I've freelanced for the likes of Kerrang!,Closer, Front, ZOO, and many others! I'm also big in to movies, video games, live comedy and ...beer!

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