Archive to Applause: Dancing with the Ghosts of Burlesque

12:30PM TO 2PM
Sunday 13 June 2021
Flazéda, Unit 4, 68 Emu Bank Canberra, ACT, Australia 2617

About the workshop

Burlesque is a historical art & we represent a rich, queer theatrical legacy. Dig into the archives to evoke historical ghosts, channel feminist flappers and follies, sling off the sheen of celluloid dreams & grind with the gritty ghost gals of downtown dime house Burly Q clubs. From fragments of faded feathers and smirking sepia strips, we can consciously create contemporary pas de deux with the legends, who have laid in mothball trunks of yore. But how do we bring our modern insights, ingenuity, influence and innovation in line with honouring the visions of our originators and understand how to perform what WAS sexy 50-100 years ago? Bring their legacies to life to continue our fanciful stripping genealogy in this 90-minute workshop with Burlesque Historian Alyssa Kitt!

You will learn how to embody the legends, tease out their choreography & develop a historically accurate repertoire of movement patterns that dance in duet with the archive. Create homage and tribute acts from archival research, and bring the sparkling strippers of the Golden Age to contemporary imagination across aspects of choreography, costume, gesture and expression that intermingles with feminist interventions into the archive.


An open mind and heart, your fine self, your performance shoes, notebook & one item of historical inspiration – be it a glove, panel skirt, favourite photograph or video clip that you’re working on developing into a new or existing routine. (I will have some of my own VERY special collections of items on display too).

Suitable for

Beginners or professionals – whoever you are in whatever body you beautifully possess – this class is open to any expression of gender identity.


90-minute workshop – $60/ student. ($50 to Alyssa).

About Alyssa

Fierce. Formidable. The Feminist Fatale. Miss Alyssa Kitt is the golden hair dream made of curves and cream. A purveyor of The Naked Arts and powerhouse of burlesque. World-renowned erotic performance artist known for her raw and powerfully athletic choreography, cascading strawberry blonde locks, brain-melting decadence and scintillatingly sinful tease. With more than a few accolades under her pasties, Miss Kitt has been a hugely influential figure on the world burlesque landscape since 2008. Alyssa has twice been selected to compete for the prestigious title of Miss Exotic World, Queen of Burlesque at the Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas.

She is an artistic and intellectual chameleon, currently undertaking her doctorate at City University New York in Theatre and Performance Studies. A hybrid academic, theorist and practitioner, Alyssa fuses her 13 years embodied stage knowledge and teaching experience. As the Director of the Australian Burlesque Museum, she has curated touring exhibitions that celebrate Australia’s unique stripping history. A burgeoning queer theorist, feminist historian, writer and journalist – she publishes regularly on the public presentation of the body, burlesque, BDSM, sexuality and identity politics. Her research focuses on queer theory and feminist interventions in the archive.

She is currently undertaking research on Sydney’s erotic performance art history from the 1970s-2000s, Mapping Australia’s neo-burlesque revival, and the strip-art activism of Gurlesque. She is the Associate Producer of Miss Burlesque Australia, writer of the Miss Burlesque Australia rulebook, a seasoned competition judge, and bonafide veteran of the competition. Over her 10 years with MBA, she has won a swag of tiaras and titles including Miss Burlesque Australia first runner up in 2014, Miss Classic MBA (2012, 2014) and is the only two-time winner of Miss Burlesque Queensland (2014, 2012).