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Grandmafun is a classy lady from the islands with Bettie Page charms and Beyonce booty shaking moves that will make you swoon. She brings wonderment and surprise with her mix of hip-hop and classic soul while looking like she stepped out of a Gaugin painting and into a Technicolor film.

Jack Nickelz: So what started you off in the world of dancing?

Grandmafun: I’m not a professionally trained dancer but it was all the Madonna concert VHS tapes my Dad sent to me overseas when I was in the Philippines. I religiously watched and tried to mimic her dance moves. Her concerts were provocative, theatrical, and the production value blew me away! It’s when I knew I loved dancing. For me dance is the perfect medium to channel emotions that you cannot say with words.

Jack Nickelz: What styles of dancing did you like to do?

Grandmafun: I naturally just went with what I felt was right. I never restricted myself however the styles I’m drawn to is modern, hip-hop, and free style movements. While I cannot for the life of me break dance, I love it regardless. In burlesque I have a tendency to do Latin-based movements – my grandpa taught me how to sing and dance so it hits close to home for me.unnamed

Jack Nickelz: How much did you know about Burlesque before you decided you wanted to do it?

Grandmafun: I knew just a little bit of it. I was always drawn to the “showgirl” at a very young age and grew up participating in beauty pageants. I got involved in Burlesque through a very good friend of mine and amazing dancer, Joey Kipp back in 2008. I started tagging along with him and watching him perform. Before I knew it I was in it as well.

Jack Nickelz: What finally made you want to make that jump to Burlesque?

Grandmafun: Well I made the leap in August 2008 after my first-time go-go dancing with Sugar Shack Burlesque earlier that summer. I was going through a rough time personally after the loss of someone I loved very much and dance was always an outlet for me. It was Legs Malone who mentioned to me about trying it out sometime. I took that to heart and started going to burlesque shows downtown. It was one show that Joey Kipp was booked at and I finally had the courage to ask him how to get in. He said to me, “Just go talk to the producer, World Famous Bob” and I was like “That’s it?”

So I went up to Bob and asked if she can book me. She did and since then the rest has been history. I pretty much came into the scene like a bull in a china shop.

Jack Nickelz: Now to do Burlesque you have to have a good bit of confidence in yourself and your body. Is that how you have always been?

Grandmafun: I’d be lying if I said yes that I always had confidence in myself and my body. Burlesque help me develop the rest of my confidence to emotionally accept my body and sexuality. My general rule of thumb is not dwell on the things I don’t have but rather focus on positive things I do have and how to enrich that. If there’s something I don’t like, I’ll make the effort to fix and work on it. There are definitely days when I feel down on myself but it isn’t something a little red lipstick, a fabulous dress, and a smile can’t fix.

Jack Nickelz: How was your first Burlesque performance?

Grandmafun: Ridiculous! I collaborated with my former roommates who took on the roles as my pageant moms. I popped out of a Chinese take-out box to Snoop Dogg’s “Sexual Eruption”.

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It was absurd, amazing and absolutely terrifying but it help me in so many ways that most folks can’t understand. It gave me my life back after years of depression and grieving. It meant so much to me to bare all, I felt empowered by how honest a burlesque performance can be.

Jack Nickelz: What have been some of your fav. routines to do?

Grandmafun: My favorite routines is my mail-order bride act, 50s boudoir unrequited love, and my current fan dance.

Jack Nickelz: Who are some of the Burlesque dancers that you admire?

Grandmafun: Oh goodness. I have so many but here’s my top favorites…

Bambi The Mermaid, I saw her at Burlesque by the Beach at Coney Island back in 2008. She is pure genius! I love that she isn’t afraid to really take it to the next level of absurdity. She inspired me and I said, “This is the kind of Burlesque I want to do” Not only that but her energy is infectious. She charms me every time she gets on stage and her narratives are so strong. It’s an honor and a dream come true to share the stage with her.945988_506744246077076_1330522880_n

Dame Cuchifrita, a dear friend of mine and sister in burlesque. We relate on so many levels as far as both being POCs in the burlesque scene, our similar upbringings and history. Her style is refined, reserved, and bat shit crazy all at the same time.

Perle Noire, she gives me life. Her presence on stage is electrifying. You can’t deny her power!

Jack Nickelz: How many times do you have to explain to people that there is a difference between strip club dancing and Burlesque?

Grandmafun: I don’t care to explain it. People like to talk about that till the cows come home. Honestly, we all hustlin’ that’s how I look at it. Do you, more power to that!

Jack Nickelz: Why do you think that Burlesque is once again becoming a big thing in the mainstream?

Grandmafun: When did it ever not always been a big thing? It’s fun!

Jack Nickelz: What are some of the misconceptions that people have about Burlesque dancing?

Grandmafun: That all of it has to be the classic bump and grind. I do appreciate a classic burlesque dance, don’t get me wrong.

Burlesque is so deep and immersive as a medium that you have to really think about your routine from beginning middle and end. From costume, props, music and narrative you have total control.

Also, when others say that it is really easy. It’s not! Don’t believe anyone who tells you that. It’s hard, it takes guts, and a lot of dedication. Your audience knows when you are lying on stage. Have patience as it takes time to develop yourself as a performer. It took me years and still I continue to work on myself.

Jack Nickelz: Now some Burlesque dancers have done some pin up modeling work, is that something that you do as well?

Grandmafun: I tried half-heartedly, haha. Do I love pin up, absolutely! I just think I make for a terrible model. I’m way too goofy.

Jack Nickelz: What advise do you have for anyone thinking of getting into Burlesque dancing?

Grandmafun: Do it because you love it. You love to story-tell, to be sensual, and to create beauty in this world. Burlesque is almost always a labor of love on all accounts. It’s an art form that gives you freedom to grow mentally, emotionally, and physically. Most importantly, be yourself all the way.

Jack Nickelz: Thank you once again for taking time out to do this. Is there anything that you would like to say to the fans and readers?

Grandmafun: Thanks for your continued support!!! See ya on the sparkle stage!

For more on Grandmafun, check out:

https://twitter.com/Grandmafun  http://instagram.com/Grandmafun

http://Grandmafun.wordpress.com/  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grandmafun/163890160362488

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