Crossing her tease, dotting her eyes

Burlesque isn’t just for the ogling eyes of men anymore – even old ladies love Miss La Muse

  • Alter ego: Angela Senyshyn by day, Miss La Muse by night. “(Burlesque has) taken over my life, to be honest,” she says. – Thomas Pendragon

“In my life, I always sort of felt like a muse,” the local performance artist aptly known as Miss La Muse recently reflected.

However, at 18 – stuck on Cape Breton Island with a love of self-expression and no opportunity to draw on it – she felt it was time to leave home and go out searching for some inspiration of her own.

Fast-forward a few years, after some time in London, England, followed by a coincidence or two, it’s clear the petite redhead who now calls Winnipeg home found that muse – in the scintillating art of burlesque.

“I knew that I liked expressing myself,” said La Muse, whose real name is Angela Senyshyn. “When I was living in England, I saw burlesque in some of the bars and clubs that I was going to and I was like ‘Oh my God what is this?’ I felt so connected with that type of performance.”

It wasn’t until she returned to Canada and stumbled upon some YouTube videos of burlesque shows that she realized exactly what it was she had been so inspired by overseas.

“It was just so amazing. I started doing research on it and just had to do it,” she said.

Since then?

“It’s taken over my life, to be honest.”

Now part of the Winnipeg arts scene she fell in love with, she has also become somewhat of an unofficial ambassador for the burlesque to visiting performers.

That’s right: Winnipeg has a burlesque scene.

“It’s pretty small but it is growing,” Senyshyn explained. “It’s becoming more of a hotspot now, which I’m getting really excited about.”

When I was living in England, I saw burlesque in some of the bars and clubs that I was going to and I was like ‘Oh my God what is this?’ I felt so connected with that type of performance.

Angela Senyshyn, a.k.a. Miss La Muse, burlesque performer

In addition to the solo shows of its various burlesque performers, Winnipeg has played host to touring shows in the past as well as Fringe performances which have explored its storied past, its current resurgence and the myths that surround it.

Although predecessor to some more lewd shows of skin, burlesque and stripping aren’t synonymous.

“They’re sort of like cousins,” she said of the two. “There’s a little bit of striptease involved (in burlesque), but the key word is ‘tease.’

“I walk through my audience and I meet people, and it’s so amazing seeing how I touch them by the way that they respond to me so differently,” she continued. “I feel like I’m walking in a dream and I’ve created this dream for them to walk in, too.”

Audiences can’t help but fall in love with her for it.

“When I’m Miss La Muse, everyone wants to kiss my hand. Everyone.”

While her show may not be family-appropriate, she enchants fans of all ages – even an elderly woman.

“She told me that I reminded her of (burlesque dancer and actress) Sally Rand, and I think that was the loveliest compliment that I got,” she said.

“That, and the sweet old British lady at the Fringe who slapped my bottom and said ‘Oh, I didn’t recognize you with your knickers on!’”

You can kiss Miss La Muse’s hand after she opens for Hedwig & The Angry Inch at the Pyramid Cabaret (176 Fort St.) on Saturday, Oct. 23. Tickets are $20 and doors open at 7:30 p.m. Visit www.misslamuse.ca.

Published in Volume 65, Number 8 of The Uniter (October 21, 2010)

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