Charlotte Pacelli speaks with Burlesque Hall of Fame’s “Most Innovative” winner Aurora Galore

This month @primpmycostume speaks with Burlesque Hall of Fame’s “Most Innovative” winner, the inimitable @auroragalore

Aurora Galore is an award-winning, internationally-known Burlesque and Fire Performer, based in London. Her performances vary from dark, outlandish dance acts to fire breathing finales. Aurora has a contemporary aesthetic, a modern soundtrack, and both energetic and emotive performances. She produces full-length solo and large cast shows alongside her own acts and is known for her dynamic, fiery and unique performances.

Aurora is a vivacious and exuberant entertainer with an edgy stage presence. Through a combination of dance, fire and a unique creative vision; Aurora is a captivating and current performer unlike any other.

 

Charlotte Pacelli (CP): I remember first meeting you when we shared a bill on a super fun Burlesque show in Sheffield and after about 3 minutes in your company was thinking “oh PLEASE can this be the person I’m down to be roomies with for the night!” (you were, thank the Stripper-Gods). You have always had such a kind and open backstage demeanour and it’s been such a delight to see how highly you are thought of by other performers, when your name comes up in discussion. You have had a mega-impact on shaping the UK Burly scene over the past decade, so I’m really pleased to be chatting to you this month. Hopefully other performers and fans out there will get some juicy insight into the work that goes on behind-the-scenes, before the crystals and rhinestone sparkles hit the stage…

I’d like to start by asking you if you have ever made a costume that hasn’t worked in practice? How did you adapt it?

Aurora Galore (AG): Yes, in a couple of ways. Once I made a costume that did not work at all - tear-away trousers! The key is to get them in a much bigger size (maybe two or three times more) than you are, as the fabric overlaps on the sides once you cut and re-sew them. I learnt the hard way that if you buy your correct size, you cannot put a foot in and have to start over! I have also had something made perfectly for my specifications, but it just did not work for the act as it was too heavy. So, I just integrated it into another costume instead to get use out of it.

CP: Mate. Been there. I have also sewn individual poppers (snaps) down the side of pants, which took hours, just to realise they gape open in-between them and that popper-tape is a much better bet! I’m interested, with your years of experience in creating costumes, whether your attitude has changed towards paying for costumes over the course of your career?

AG: I used to try and do everything myself. Mostly because as a new performer, you simply don't have the funds. I invested almost everything back into my work, but having a custom costume is expensive. Over the years, I have invested in key pieces. Corsets for me are one of those. I would rather spend most of my budget on a custom corset and make everything else myself, as standard corsets don't suit my shape well. Before, I would try and do everything myself to save money, but I would not do that now if I had the money. If a costume takes thirty hours and you have the money to pay someone else to do it, perhaps it's better to spend the cash than the hours.

CP: I’m not going to argue with that, else I’d be out of a job! Something I often hear performers say in interviews is that “it’s all about the act quality, not having the best costume”. So, what DO you need to consider when making a costume, if you are bypassing the bling, to still get noticed and booked?

AG: We are creating a fantasy but you don't need to spend a lot to achieve that. If you want to wear a t-shirt, can you do anything to that t-shirt to take it beyond what someone in the audience would look like wearing it? Can you add tailoring, can you cut it slightly, or dye it? If I personally see a performer in a dress that I also own and it hasn't been changed at all, I would be taken out of the realm of fantasy. The act is the most important aspect, but if all you did to achieve a costume was buy it and put it on, I don't know that it will show the act to its full potential.

CP: I think that’s a great tip. Use the costume as a chance to express your creativity, even if that doesn’t involve a multitude of flatback stones! Right. Real-talk. Anything in the world of Burlesque costume that makes you eyeroll?

AG: I used to hate jeans -but I don't now! What I dislike (same as above) is jeans that have been purchased and put on. You can do a lot to jeans to make them special. I guess what I don't like is lack of effort. We are all low on funds, but these days there are groups that sell second hand items or costumes and I feel like you can always add something to a costume piece to make it special and unique to you.

CP: Big fans over here of re-use and up-cycle. Which was where Primp My Costume really started – with a box of old, hardly-used costumes that I decided to try to give a fabulous new life to (with the help of my old friends Ms. Swarovski and Ms. Preciosa!). To finish off, could you share your best advice for cleaning your costumes, which are often surviving being thrown on dirty floors?

AG: Honestly, it starts beforehand. There is not much that can be done for dirty costumes, because often you can't just stick them in a wash. If you are about to go on stage and someone has spilled a drink, tell someone. If the stage looks dirty, ask for a chair and place your items on that. Trying to preserve your costume's cleanliness is easier than trying to wash out stains!

 

To find out more about Aurora Galore, here’s where to start:

I can suggest keeping one eye on her Instagram, for details of her classes and workshops (which are great, I’ve been to one before and learnt a bunch of new stuff – never stop learning, guys!)

IG - @auroragalore  

Website – AuroraGalore.com  

Facebook - @theauroragalore

Twitter - @auroragalore

Photos by @HelsinkiBurlesque/ Self-Portrait/ @TigzRice