Madame Risquée burlesque night secrets

Posted by Dee-Ann On September - 8 - 20104,420 views

The USA has Dita von Teese to promote Burlesque to the general public. So Burlesque dancers and events can ride on her train. But in the Netherlands (Europe) there is no Burlesque train running. Perhaps I’m wrong? Perhaps the Dutch Madame Risquée knows more about it. I found out,… she’s no curvy Burlesque dancer. She’s an agency!  

Charley Rhythm - photography:

I’m talking to Charley Rhythm, founder of Madame Risquée  

Tell us how this Risquée baby, grew up to be a Madame?

I’ve been dj for a long time, starting in Cruise Inn and Maloe Melo, but also liked 60’s and 40’s music. So with a small group of DJ’s we started Amsterdam BeatClub almost 8 years ago. We played 50’s and 60’s music; from R&R, old R&B, Soul, Mod Jazz, Ska, Popcorn etc. And also had many acts and bands.  

Miss Beeby Rose was the only Burlesque performer back in those days and we booked her and also helped with finding music.   

When it took SO long for Burlesque to arrive in the Netherlands we found ourselves organizing the first parties (en 1 hour show) in Amsterdam in 2007. Famous manager Koos van Dijk (Herman Brood) was the promotor, Ir. VenderMeulen (Amsterdam BeatClub) and me, did many things behind the scenes, and Beeby, CoCo jane and the likes performed.   

Then soon I took it upon myself to find and create more acts, VJ, DJ, organize more… AND since I had all those burlesque connections and knowledge started a bookings agency called Madame Risquée. A woman’s name, cause I felt it would make more sense than a man being the ‘boss’ of the (mostly) female performers.
 In the mean time there are also male acts and I always focused on variété, not only burlesque striptease. 

The artists are all self employed, like me. I ask for their input and ideas and help. Some just get a booking once in a while, others work more together with ‘The Madame, In the sense of developing ideas, making choreographies, clothing.  


What can I expect on a burlesque night?   


The Ambiance is really important. I organize a show in a nightclub (Club-8, Amsterdam) where there are mostly standing places, a small stage, but with red curtains.
Another show is in the theatre, that lifts the ‘professionalism’ immediately because of the lights, sound and setting. So: well dressed, or cool or sexy dressed people come in, and see old clips being projected, from 30’s musical to Betty page and so on. DJ plays kinda easy ‘walk in’ music, mostly cocktails are also available. It is a mix of let’s say Tattoed R&R, fetish crowd, but also people who only know Dita von Tease and never saw a show before. We call them Burlesque Virgins. 😉
The audience age group is very wide, last time a 17 year old girl danced with a 70 year old woman (my mother actually…) Both dressed as showgirls.
Then it is showtime,  often we have a circuslike parade and the MC (and singer) will get the people together by singing a Frank Sinatra tune , or ‘fever’ (depending on who’s the MC). There are mostly 12 acts varied from classic striptease (with a wink…), a funny show, something cabaret, (crazy) magician, freakshow, neo burlesque (performance art). Best dressed competition and ‘desert’ (an aftershow at 01:30 hrs or so.  + Dancing all night, On both vintage tunes as well as newly recorded music, what we call ‘Burlesque Beats’: new but with an ‘old’ feel. 

How do you select your dancers? Are they lined up in front of your door or is there a Burlesque dancers agency?  


That works in many different ways: My choreorapher actually made some dances with the youger generation, some come from a dancer’s background and make acts themselves, some good, some bad. Others need some time to get better and then I’ll book them a year later again to see. People mail me, or I see an act. I also see performers, like in the circus, and ask them if they are interested to join the burlesque crew. With the right music and look that works. We never had a real audition, there aren’t so many performers in the Netherlands yet!  

How does this vintage lifestyle affect your life?  

For me it is more a timeless thing. My vintage look is so my own I don’t even realize I do look kind of vintage to people. My goal is also to make the bridge from the vintage part of things to nowadays. For instance not only bringing old music and acts or only try to re-create vintage acts but to have a nice blend of the old and the ‘new’. Of course there are so many cool and original things done in the 1920’s-1960’s it is an endless source of inspiration. I do sell that ‘vintage’ atmosphere in many ways, AND even make most of my money with it. (I also design, make sites, flyers, vj,  dj.)  


Do you organize other events as well?  

Newest and ‘succesful’ thing is a 1920’s inspired party called RaZzin’ I do that together with Kristine, who is also bass player in the Oops-a-Daisies (all female 30’s kinda band), and she also a stylist specialized in vintage styles (for movies, tv etc!). We search out venues where our concept fits. A lot of fun, everybody is dressed in style. And again: not only the ‘scene’   people, but a mix of all sorts of people who simply like that concept, they really come from everywhere…  

What are your future plans? Are you going for bigger events? Or do you want to keep it small for a select audience?  

Well, I need to make money with this, but it is not easy at all. For 2 years I am on the brink of being able to do it, or that I am forced to stop.  Still it is so much a thing I do with passion, I simply cannot keep myself from making new parties, concepts and promoting it. I also feel Burlesque or a twenties party does not work when it grows TOO big. So I need to find a balance moneywise.  


It is growing but painfully slowly….Over here we see the imagery and hear the music in movies and commercials. But a firmer ground for those things are also mostly growing from scene related people (RR, Tattoo, hotrod, swing). I feel in the mainstream there are hypes and fads, but they are always replaced by the newest hype.  

Also, both Miss Beeby (now Beeby Rose, fellow organsor) and I, often wonder if ‘Burlesque’ ever will be part of the Dutch culture, maybe the Dutch are too ‘sober’ for it. The burlesque workshops are pretty populair the last months, so again I have hope.


One Response to “Madame Risquée burlesque night secrets”

  1. […] affect your life? For me it is more a timeless thing. … Read the original here:  Rockabilly-Online » Blog Archive » Madame Risquée burlesque night … Share […]

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