New fitness trend: Burlates

| 1 February , 2010 | Reply

Carla Caruso, Diamonds & Whirls

Burlesque extraordinaire Rachel St James launches a new fitness craze at Sydney\’s Entertainment Quarter in February – burlates. It\’s a sexy blend of burlesque and Pilates (it\’s also known as “naughty Pilates”.) So, start swivelling those hips!

Tell us what it was like working at Johnny Depp\’s restaurant/bar Le Man Ray in Paris. It was a very special moment in my career. Le Man Ray has such an exotic and elegant fit-out. It was a dinner show and I performed on stage in my martini glass, with a French opera singer and a classic violinist. My act was really well-received by the Parisian people, which means a lot to me because my parents took me to the Moulin Rouge when I was just seventeen years old – and I was blown away! As for the elusive, glorious Monsieur Johnny, at the time he was with his family in the south of France, however, he does like to approve the talent and sent his condolences.

What made you go from modelling and being former Penthouse Pet of the Year to burlesque? I spent my childhood in North Queensland obsessing over old-school Hollywood movie stars, such as Marilyn Monroe, Mae West and Betty Grable. Pin-up modelling and burlesque performance blossomed during that era and it has been a great source of inspiration for my own career. Modelling definitely opened the doors to showcase my talent as a performer. I feel very lucky to have had that opportunity.

Ever got to meet any of your burlesque idols? I have always looked up to the original burlesque stars, such as Gypsy Rose Lee and Lili St Cyr (below), and would love to one day meet Dita Von Teese. But, on a recent trip to LA, I did (at least) get to meet my ‘femme fatale\’ idol, Angelina Jolie.

Is burlates something that is taught overseas already or is it entirely new? Entirely new! As I have been teaching burlesque dance for a number of years, I wanted to create something that could reach a wider audience. I already have plans to launch the product to an international market.

What sort of fitness levels do you need to take part? The two-part burlates course is designed to take you from first-timer to boudoir goddess!

What are some moves newcomers can learn? Burlates has signature moves such as the hip swivel, body roll, leg kick, shimmy, strut and butterfly – just to name a few! All are designed to create a toned, feminine body, with a defined waistline.

How do you think burlates can help empower women – and help spice things up in the bedroom a little? The first rule of empowerment is confidence. It is every woman’s right of passage to feel beautiful and sexy and that needs to come from within. The movements I teach are a facilitator of that confidence, which carries through to the boudoir!

For more on burlates, head to

Pics 1 & 2


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