Graduate becomes first New Mexican to win burlesque award

By: Stefany Olivas, Staff Reporter
Photo By: Wildun Photography

Burlesque Noir troupe founder and Veterinary Technician graduate “Holly Rebelle” was the first Burlesque performer from New Mexico to win the solo competition at the recent Texas Burlesque Festival.

She presented a classical bal­loon dance act, which made her top pick, she said.

“They are looking for people to be true to the classic art form of Burlesque. Having a great stage presence, using a classic song and having a well thought out costume were all in my favor,” said Rebelle.

To be recognized by her peers and idols out of about two dozen competitors was a great feeling especially because it is something she enjoys, said Rebelle.

The Texas Burlesque Festival is structured as a com­petition so she decided to enter a solo and an ensemble perfor­mance, which Burlesque Noir also won, said Rebelle.

“It was total shock and awe that we took best group category and I won best solo. It worked out well for us. There are only a handful of competitions in Burlesque. Only one person can walk away with the award,” said Rebelle.

She has done solo performances many times before but the festival was her first time entering a solo com­petition, said Rebelle.

Many traditional dances exist in Burlesque like the boa act, red dress act or sand dance, said Rebelle.

After deciding on an overall concept for a traditional balloon dance she said she began to pick her brain for songs all the way back to her childhood and decided to use “Little April Showers” from the Disney classic, “Bambi.”

“I took the concept of a tradi­tional balloon dance and made an act around it in which I’m a rain cloud in a balloon dress. Then I would pop the balloons as the act went on then be a rainbow, and at the end the sun would came out,” said Rebelle.

The initial planning of the act came together easily for her and she was surprised to always have so many compliments on it because although she knew it was a good act she did not realize she was doing anything spectacular, said Rebelle.

“Michelle L’amour, one of the top performers in the world from Chicago always said it’s good to be nervous because it shows that you care. I just got up there and have fun, and that showed,” said Rebelle.

In 2009 Rebelle made a New Year resolution to apply for every competition she could, so Burlesque Noir decided to apply for this most recent festival because they had never performed in Texas before, she said.

“There is a big circuit for Burlesque nationally, and I wanted to start performing outside of Albuquerque,” said Rebelle.

When the troupe first began to travel it was tough because it was something new but progressively they have begun to travel more often.

“We’ve been applying to more things and budgeting for them. Now we’ve made a network of performers and have gotten very close to people around the nation,” said Rebelle.

The troupe is most likely done competing for the year but they still have many local and national perfor­mances coming up, she said.

Local shows include hosting the sensational New York City troupe Dangerous Curves Ahead at the Auxiliary Dog Theatre on Thursday, April 26, and Burlesque Noir’s second annual show, enti­tled Burlesque in the Wild West on May 26.

Nationally, they will be performing at the Beggars Carnival hosted by Vaudeville Entertainment in St. Louis at the end of May and at the Colorado Burlesque Festival in July.

To keep up with Holly Rebelle and the performers of Burlesque Noir visit

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