Student of the Month – The Catfish

By The Catfish

In late 2016, I started my burlesque career under the guidance of Deb au Nare by taking classes at The Burlesque Academy of Asheville. Beginning with Burlesque 101 she asked us each why we had a desire to do burlesque. I immediately chimed in with my desire to do solo performances that included dancing & storytelling, but have always had a hard time playing well with others and making friends. Deb au Nare heard that and understood, because unbeknownst to me, I was actually proclaiming my lonliness & lack of direction in the art world. I needed guidance more than anything, and finally, it was being given to me.

The Catfish during her debut burlesque performance on November 28th, 2016

I graduated that same year and began performing regularly at Deb au Nare’s weekly burlesque revue Risque Monday. In fact my graduation show took place at the first ever Risque Monday, so it was a truly special evening. The Catfish has always lived inside of my heart, but that night she truly came alive.

Deb & I grew closer together, I was like a loud little sister always wanting to help & be as involved as possible. We began a mentorship in 2017, in exchange for light administrative work I was able to study the craft even more closely right by her side, which is an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world. I was eventually entrusted to host Risque Monday on a semi regular basis, which allowed Deb to perform more, which is her passion alongside teaching.

The Catfish hosting at Risque Monday – photo by Schuylar Shayne Photography

With each week, I gained more and more of a sense of purpose. Entertaining, communicating through art, liberating myself and making a close connection with my body is something I could never have gained without burlesque.

Being a part of Risque Monday and The Burlesque Academy of Asheville for these past two and a half years has been life changing. The amount of love and positivity that is cultivated within this craft is insane, it’s a bond unlike anything I’ve ever known. Deb au Nare encourages body positivity and creative freedom more than any mentor I’ve ever met. To be constantly shot down and held back in art is devestating, and it’s refreshing to meet someone who is open minded to many new ideas.

The Catfish performing an act she worked closely with Deb on at the Burlesque! Burlesque! Burlesque! festival.

It’s a real honor to be a part of such a powerful community.

Burlesque has made the biggest impact on my adult life so far, and it’s given me an outlet to finally express myself through. My spirit is stronger because of it, and all the amazing experiences I’ve had through burlesque wouldn’t be possible without the guidance I gained under Deb au Nare and her burlesque academy.

-The Catfish

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