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Sophie Partridge gets through the January Bluze... / 19 January 2011

Sophie Partridge in burlesque costume

Sophie Partridge dressed for burlesque... as Floozie Loosey

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So here I sit, snug in my flat. A bluish sky through the window (above newly installed traffic lights!) while the world in various corners, suffers climate change’. Me, I’ve already had a bit of a year. So far, broken vans,chairs (no bones tho thankfully!) and last week was topped off with a fire up-stairs at 2am!

My mind casts back to late November 2010. DaDaFest. Me with a Proper Cold and blocked-up ears, more deaf than usual. And freezing cold outside the Black Box in Liverpool. We whacked the heaters up in there as we, six Criptease women, moseyed about scantily clad; making pasties (and not the pastry kind). Some of us had done It before and some of us hadn’t. It was surreal, to be so un-dressed in company, in winter.

And not to worry... well, we worried a bit: what music for our burlesque acts? Names? Costumes?? Not that they were gonna stay on for long! We found an Aladdin’s cave in a store room, full of bits & bobs for routines. Teasing and tassel-twirling – kind of! – was learnt. Tracks were downloaded, a particularly Far Out version of `Lucy in The Sky’ was found for me & sparkly pink material bought... ‘Floozie Loosey’ was born!

It wasn’t just Criptease that made DadaFest for me. Two days of rehearsed play-readings, including a draft of my own piece. It was good to feel like an actor again - doing something that won’t embarrass my mum! Plus, with so much stuff to see / hear. Other Cripplys & Nons with clothes on and off... spaghetti falling from the roof... Bed-ins... a real warmth was generated... even with The Ibis’ heating system belting out cold air!! Old friends & new. Not having gone to Edinburgh Fringe last summer, my week in Liverpool more than made up for it. And now `of course’ there will be cuts.

Will DaDaFest happen again in 2011? Rumour has it that it’ll be on a smaller scale. Personally, I’ll be sad, as I was at the passing of Theatre Workshop, Edinburgh’s Degenerate Festival. All the old arguments will prevail: do we really need an Exclusive Festival in this century?

Without it tho’ – would six `obviously’ disabled women have had the chance to do burlesque? Would they have wanted and / or have had the confidence to? So what’s it about then? Is it therapy? Self affirmation?! All I know is, much of the work I saw there was high calibre, worthy of any festival. Yet I doubt without DaDaFest it would have the opportunity to play on those main stages again... 'Floozie Loosey' may never have got to fly.

A certain Master of DaDa-Beasty Burlesque, compered an event I went to the other night. First thing he said to me was “Last time I saw you, you had a lot less clothes on.” I held back from correcting him. The last time we actually saw each other was at breakfast next morning. That would’ve sounded worse! 

Keywords: burlesque,performing arts,