Finally a holiday has floated in that actually makes sense. Hallmark hasn’t quite hopped on the National Bubble Week (March 8 – 14, 2015) bandwagon just yet but considering the silent impact that bubbles have had on all of our lives, it’s clearly just a matter of time before the bubble-based holiday totally blows up.
Just think about it; without bubbles, beer would taste like fraternity house dishwater, bubble butts wouldn’t exist, making us have to reconsider Kim Kardashian’s purpose as a public figure, and bath time would be far less fun without that sudsy sheet of poppable joy decorating bathers and the tub. Need we say more? A week of bubble appreciation is completely called for considering that bubbles obviously make everything better.
And now that we have brought to your attention the fact that bubbles basically make our bubble-shaped world go round, we will tell you about a burlesque ballerina whose profession is our favorite reason why bubbles exist.
Starring in the wildly entertaining, adult production “Absinthe” – which would also be our beverage of choice if champagne was bubble-less – Charlie Starling has given the playful objects a whole new meaning as the show’s Bubble Girl.
Performing a sultry solo act with a massive balloon bubble as her prop, Starling dances, bounces, teases the audience with, and eventually ends up inside of the bubble wearing far less clothing than she began with. However, adding in her own special element of pointe ballet, Starling’s acts is not only unique by nature but it is a delightfully entertaining showcase of – bubble burlesque.
And while simply sitting back and watching her routine is pleasure enough, Starling took me somewhere even more exciting … inside the bubble.
In a quick one-on-one Bubble Girl lesson, per the photos and short video provided below, you will see that not only did I make friends with my very first bubble (to be a Bubble Girl, you must kiss and love your bubble before every performance), but I ended up shimmying myself all of the way inside the gigantic latex balloon.
And even though Starling, the ever-smooth, pastie-wearing, en pointe ballerina Bubble Girl makes getting into a bubble and dancing with it on various parts of her body looks effortless and sexy. Let me tell you… that thing has a mind of its own and it is not as simple as it she makes it look. Once I popped myself inside, I felt as though I was in a snow globe, sans the trickling snow. It was like a world of its own and I did not want to get out.
However, all good things come to an end and once I was popped out of my bubble (the show goes through 600 of the exclusive, Italian-made bubbles per year), that was sadly the end of my Bubble Girl career.
But, Starling’s career is alive and well and she took a moment let us in on what it’s like to be a Bubble Girl. Read on to learn a little bit more about this ballerina and her bubble.
Q and A with “Absinthe’s” Bubble Girl, Charlie Starling
Q: How did you become a Bubble Girl?
A: I’ve been a Bubble Girl for seven months. Well the original Bubble Girl is a lady called Julie Atlas Muz. She is a burlesque superstar and kind of my “bubble mama.” She won the exotic Miss World Competition, which is kind of the burlesque crown with the bubble act and then went on to perform in the original Absinthe with it and she and I worked together in Europe a couple of years ago and when ‘Absinth’ decided they needed a new bubble girl, she remembered me and emailed me on my birthday.
Q: How long does it take to perfect this act?
A: Well we, Julie and I, had a week-long workshop in New York last spring and then there was another week of rehearsal in Vegas when I first got here last summer and that was it. We just took off, I flew away in my bubble. It’s ongoing – the perfection is ongoing. Every single bubble is completely different and you have to feel it out every performance. They are slightly different shapes and slightly different thicknesses so once the air gets inside, there will be slight kind of discrepancies in the shape and the weight of it and the way it moves with kind of the air, so I have to shift my balance constantly and make sure I’ve got the balloon on the right axis for rolling it around and things. Otherwise I can lose it in the audience, which has happened a couple of times and it ends up being less of a bubble act and more of a giant game of keep away.
A: Well, you need a lot of personality. Burlesque itself can mean any number of things. My kind of take on the bubble act is I do ballet in there so obviously I’ve trained in ballet from a very young age so that was kind of what they knew about me when they brought me on board. But to be a burlesque performer, you just need lots and lots of personality and cheek. All kinds of cheek.
Q: Is this the only bubble act of its kind anywhere?
A: No, there is a bubble girl in the new ‘Absinthe’ tour, which has just kicked off in Australia and I think Julie is also performing her bubble act in and around New York and London as well.
Q: So there’s three bubble acts in the world that you know of?
A: That I know of, yes.
Q: What is the best part about being the Bubble Girl? The most challenging part?
A: Well, I get to live in Vegas, which is something I’ve always wanted to do from a very young age. I’ve been a dancer my whole life and I always wanted to be a showgirl in Las Vegas. The best thing about being a Bubble Girl is it’s a solo and I have the most fun prop you could imagine working with. Like they all have personalities and… yeah it’s fun. It’s really, really fun. Q: What does it take to be a bubble girl?
The [most challenging] part is trying to keep my balance en pointe inside a giant balloon. I’m trying to keep my entire body weight over the size of about a quarter and to add six feel of balloon, which as I say has personality and kind of a will of its own, is not the easiest thing to do.
A: I wouldn’t go that far but let’s say that it’s a very specific set of skills, which I never actually used when I was doing ballet because when I was doing ballet, I only had to worry about myself but now I have a giant thing to play with.
Q: Is maneuvering the bubble on your body challenging?
A: Yes, it is. I have to warm up my neck and shoulders very thoroughly because I’m dragging the whole thing around on my neck for awhile.
Q: What is an embarrassing moment that has happened during the show during this act?
A: Am I allowed to talk about nipple slips?
A: Sometimes the balloon will knock my pasties off… it’s a better show for them. Sometimes the balloon will pop early and I like to call it premature population and that’s always a little bit of a shock because that’s very loud and I’m kind of in a zone and thinking that I’m going to power through until the end of my number but if the balloon pops, I have to think on my feet. And the audience is shocked and I’m shocked and we have to kind of get to the end together, so yeah, that can happen. When that happens, if it happens before a certain point in the number, I go off and then repeat the number later on in the show or if it happens after a certain point, I basically just finish it. So what I tend to do is take my hair out, spin around and drop into splits.
Q: What is something about this act that people would be surprised to know?
A: I would say that people are always curious to know if I can breathe in there… I’m not going to tell you.
Q: What is a Bubble Girl fun fact?
A: In rehearsal, when I let go of it, it tends to follow me around the room. I don’t know if it’s because the bubble has a soul or something to do with static electricity… I imagine it’s probably the latter, I like science. But yeah, I will be sitting on the edge of the stage and if the balloon’s on the other side, it makes its way towards me. I do love my balloons.
Q: Are you doing anything special for National Bubble Week?
A: Well, I’ll probably give my bubbles extra kisses before I go on stage… I’m going to let you know that you have to really make friends with your balloon beforehand. And I imagine I’ll be putting lots of bubbly-type things on my Instagram, @charliestarling