The weather is starting to warm up here in Australia, so what better way to celebrate the heat increasing with a hot burlesque performer! I chatted with the fierce Ferri Maya about all things rock'n'roll, skating, online shows and more.
Enjoy reading! And don't forget you can see Ferri's links for social media and burlyrock classes at the end of the interview.
1. You have been a burlesque performer for a while, when did you start performing?
I have been in the world of Burlesque for about 10 years. I spent my first 2 years in London, where I lived at the time.
I have always been a dancer. Trained in all discipline's and I thought, why not give Burlesque a try.
2. Tell me about the style of performance you do. What would you say your signature style is? I am a rock performer with an American showgirl twist and heavily influenced by exotic floor. My style is Dirty, high energy with slow melting moments.
I am also a music nerd and need the movements to match my music and costume style for that performance.
3. Artists are inspired by many things, what inspires you to perform?
I have always been a dancer and played in Theatre as well as arts. I am inspired by the world around me and what music makes me feel. So, when I perform, it is 100% me and everything I feel and want to express.
4. You won the title Miss Burlesque Melbourne in 2019 (yay!). What was the most challenging thing about that competition? What was the most rewarding?
Whenever you put yourself into a competition or prepare to apply for a festival there's a certain expectation of a challenge that's ahead of you. At the time you never know what that challenge is going to be. I prepared myself for everything with MBA, I wanted to know whatever outcome there was, I did my best and walked away with staying completely true to myself and my brand.
I would say the most challenging thing is to get your head around the fact that it's completely out of your hands, that what you're working towards should be for you and to put the word COMPETITION out of your head. I did a lot of sports meditation and I made sure I ate right, slept well and worked my hours and trained in my time.
The most rewarding part was creating a classic act. I don't identify as a classic performer and half of the competition was based on a classic act... I created a classic 1960's bump'n'grind routine that I absolutely love and super proud of.
5. Let's talk about your burlyrock classes. How did that come about? For someone who is interested in your classes, where can they find you and what can they expect in a class? Burlyrock is my baby and my dream come true. I started Coproducing an event that incorporated a live rock gig with a burlesque show. By our third show we were maxed out and had to move to another venue. Burlyrock was an event that was held in live rock venues and priced like a gig. Nick and I wanted to bring Burlesque to the rock crowd and at a price they could afford. So that's what we did, and we were super successful. We haven't been able to produce a Burlyrock in some time, but it's always on the cards.
From that, I created my own class where I teach Burlesque to rock'n'roll. The Rock can vary between metal and old blues rock, whatever vibe my class and I are feeling, that's what we go with. I still keep very strong elements of Burlesque with a strong dance base that incorporates exotic floor.
I am a well-rounded performer and still have regular mentoring sessions with my burlesque mentor and my exotic mentor. So, my teaching approach is heavily influenced by their teaching styles as well.
What to expect in a Burlyrock class??? Hhmmmm, lots of sexy sass, movement, hair flicking, touching yourself and a heap of laughs. Burlyrock is a dance class with technique and strong musicality. Prepare to get a burlesque workout with a full routine.
You can find me teaching online through Bottoms Up Dance in Melbourne, on Monday nights and you can find me Teaching in person classes at Sky Sirens in Sydney. Or you can just hit me up for a private.
6. Restrictions have been really tough for performers due to the pandemic, what do you find most difficult about being a performer as a result of COVID19?
When the pandemic first hit, I thought, "woohooo!! time to create a new act!" Then I realised, the band that is doing the song to my new creation can't get into a studio and record, so I scrapped that... then put my head into finding ways I could start performing online and how to create/modify acts for a home studio setting as well as pre-recorded performances. Once I got that down and knowing I could be creative in that sense I then found myself missing my family and friends. I started missing those 'let go' moments where you could go watch some mates play and just dance and feel free. I found those were the moments where ideas and creativity grew and you could breathe life into a new act and new teaching ideas came about. I guess everyone is different.. but I missed what created my freedom to let go, more than anything.
7. I've noticed your posts about skating, is this a new hobby? What other hobbies do you have? Hahahahaha!! It seems everyone's new hobbies is skating. I skated a lot when I was younger and would still occasionally go to roller discos with my friends. Then I noticed my mentor in the states was skating, so we would have chats about it when we spoke. I was over there last year and decided with my mentor that we would go and buy me a pair... so, we did and I haven't looked back since. Skating is such a great feeling and I find it super relaxing.
Of course, I still take other dance classes when I can, as well as tone and aerobic classes. I love walking and playing sports. I was a hockey player and still love to go out and hit the ball, but it's been a long while since I've done that.
8. You have performed in a few online shows, what was the experience like compared to a live event? What sort of things do you consider in creating an act that would be different to a live show? I have. The pre-recorded shows are done months in advance, so you almost forget how amazing you've done till you watch it as part of the festival. I absolutely love creating an act for a pre-recorded show, you have so much freedom to create as many scenes as you want, as well as being able to direct the audience eye to where you want. You can completely isolate body parts and movements to the beat/rhythm of the song. Doing a live online gig has been super fun as well, Danny (my partner) and I create a little home theatre and he sets up his camera and off we go.... Danny has full control of what the audience can see as he is the camera man, I just give him ques to what I'll be doing and the rest is in his hands. I realised that live online gigs need to be made slower and tighter, too much movement and quick movement can make you blur or lag, good old Aussie wifi. But I really loved the challenge.
I guess the difference with being live, is you don't hear the cheers and you don't get the mingle and social aspect of it all.
9. What is your proudest moment as a performer thus far and why?
I am proud of everything I've achieved no matter how small or how big. I work hard and train hard. I'm a perfectionist and I work on every show like it's the last. I have stayed true to myself and my brand. I have never tried to be anyone but myself. And for all of that I am proud.
10. What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind as a performer? Most Innovative, power house of rock'n'roll burlesque.
I hope that every performer out there stays true to who they are, I hope they grow, learn and respect others in the industry. No one is ever better or less than you.. always be humble and never take what someone has worked so hard to achieve.
11. What are your future plans/goals as a performer?