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Erika Moon shines 'Burlesque Avant-Garde' on Miami Beach | Video

Erika Moon is a French-born, Miami Beach-based dancer, choreographer and producer whose new show, “Erika Moon’s Burlesque Avant-Garde,” will appear Nov. 9-10 at the Fillmore Miami Beach. As its name suggests, the show offers an innovative spin on classical burlesque, though Moon says it favors the collaborative, European style of the form.

Moon, whose real name is Patricia Antunes, recently spoke to SouthFlorida.com about the show, her early career in France (she’s 40, and hails from Toulouse) and the #MeToo movement. In addition to “Burlesque Avant-Garde,” Moon will lead a burlesque workshop Thursday, Nov. 8, at the Fillmore. Space is limited to 20 people for the two-hour class starting at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $37.

Both showings of “Burlesque Avant-Garde,” meanwhile, will begin at 9 p.m., with tickets costing $55 to $75. The Fillmore Miami Beach is located at 1700 Washington Ave. For more information, go to FillmoreMB.com or ErikaMoon.com.

What is “Burlesque Avant-Garde”?

“Burlesque Avant-Garde” is a European burlesque show mix of solo burlesque art with chorus dancers and original acts. Usually, I present classical burlesque, because it is where I come from in France. ... [This show] will be on the dark side, which means stronger music, stronger choreography, stronger costumes and darker colors. We are going to look into your inner darkness. It’s going to be on the edge of a classic show, but much stronger.

Are there men in the show?

Most of the show is with women, but I do have I have a duet with a man in the show called “Midnight Blue.” It’s an acrobatic, burlesque kind of love story. These dances are more lyric dances instead of presenting a cancan dance or large feathers or chorus dance. You will see my dancers express themselves more from their eyes and body — not just everybody synced together. There is more acting in it.

How is European burlesque different from American burlesque?

There has always been a big difference. From what I understand, when people go to see a burlesque show in America, people only go to shows where they see solos. There is an emcee, and then from there you only have solo after solo after solo. In France, people think of burlesque as the Moulin Rouge. I would say burlesque is more of the whole vaudeville type [of show], with variety acts, chorus, dancers and singers, the emcee and few solos. If I had to do a burlesque show without my dancers and variety act, I couldn’t do it, because it wouldn’t be me.

What will your burlesque workshop have?

The workshop before the show is dedicated to any woman 18 to 95 years old. I’m doing it because I’ve had a lot of demand for it. Women want to be more confident and want to be more empowered. Besides having fun and learning how to take off your gloves or learn how to shimmy-shake or how to take off your stockings, it’s more about meeting other women in the class and leaving the class with more knowledge and confidence. When they socialize or go to their job the next day, they can say, “Here I am. I feel stronger.” At first, they are shy, but then the inhibitions go away. It opens doors for them, and they just have fun. Some of the cast members will be teaching the workshop. We will have a burlesque class to cover things like “sexy chair,” how to flip your hair, how to put your derriere on the back. It will be a lot of fun.

When did you get started in burlesque?

In France, I was a model in fashion shows and also did print modeling. From there, some of the girls introduced me to booking agents who were in the nightclubs. The first time I took off my clothes [onstage], I was 17 years old. I had a simple top, hat and lingerie, and it was to a Michael Jackson song. I was alone on a big stage at a club in Bordeaux in the South of France. When I took off my top, the crowd yelled and I ran into the dressing room — I was so scared. The manager came back to the dressing room and said the crowd was calling for me. I went back onstage, and I just had a blast. From there, I went on to do many gigs in the clubs and I went to dinner shows where I was hired as a chorus dancer. I later opened my company in France.

But as a purely burlesque performer, that came in maybe the past five years. … I came to Miami seven years ago, and I found out that you are either a burlesque performer and you perform in a show or you are a stripper and you perform in the club. So I had to learn my way around all of that.

I’d try to go to agencies and present myself and tell them that I have this show. But in Miami, people come and go every day. No one gave me the chance, so that’s when I decided to open my own [business]. That is when I rented the Colony Theater in Miami Beach. Seven years ago, it was harder because we didn’t have as many dancers as today. We are still here today, and we are hoping to put the show on tour in February. It’s going to be a big step for the company.

How has the #MeToo movement affected your industry?

I’m not totally sure about it, but I think the #MeToo movement did not negatively affect our industry. We saw a lot of social media about it. Fortunately, I haven’t had to say, “Me, too” because something happened to me. I see a lot of it, and I know of a person who has gone through some bad things. I think the fact that we can be onstage and express ourselves as “This is me! This is my ground, and no one steps on my ground” — it’s empowering.

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