If you've got it, flaunt it

Glamazon: AKA Kelly Heylen

Glamazon: AKA Kelly Heylen

Local art curator Kelly Heylen, who runs Platform Gallery in Katoomba St, is producing an altogether different show next weekend.

Heylen, as burlesque performer Glamazon, has devised a new show cast entirely and exclusively with plus-size performers.

The idea arose from the feedback she has received - from large women in particular - after some of her shows.

"Whenever I perform, audience members tell me that seeing me dance and strip on stage gave them the confidence they were lacking to feel comfortable in their own bodies. They tell me they've never seen a body that looks like theirs - fat - on stage before," she said.

''For some people, seeing me confident and happy with my body on stage is revolutionary, in a society that has always told us that we should be ashamed and hate our fat bodies."

Heylen received an arts residency from Brand X (supported by Create NSW and the City of Sydney) to produce the show. The residency is designed to develop experimental work that doesn't usually get to a mainstream stage.

It includes the use of rehearsal, space technical and equipment for the performance on February 22, marketing and an artist's stipend, which she will use to ensure every performer is paid.

Tricky Thick: A Fat Burlesque Revue will bring together international, national and local burlesque stars in Sydney, as part of the Flying Nun by Brand X's 2020 program.

Heylen, who has been performing burlesque for several years, said she noticed that while there were a lot of plus size dancers in classes and performing in troupe routines, they were rarely the ones getting paid solo gigs. This show is her attempt to change that.

"I wanted to create a performance where fat bodies were the norm, instead of the exception," said Heylen. "As a fat performer myself, I know what I and other fat dancers are capable of, and I wanted a chance to share that with the world, to show that our bodies can be just as sexy, strong and fierce as those with more traditional dancers' bodies.

"I want those people in the audience to feel the same empowerment that we as burlesque performers feel. And I invite people who might be sceptical about fat people dancing and stripping to come to the show and experience it for themselves.

"The cast I have assembled is highly accomplished, and the line-up for the evening is bound to shatter preconceptions and, hopefully, stigma around fat perfomers and fat bodies in general."

Tricky Thick: A Fat Burlesque Revue is part of the 2020 program of fringe and counter-culture performance art at Flying Nun by Brand X. The show is on Saturday, February 22, at East Sydney Community and Arts Centre in Darlinghurst. Tickets are $25/$20 and are available at https://www.brandx.org.au/.