Today we’d like to introduce you to Olivia Bellafontaine.
Olivia, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I met a woman who did burlesque in New York, and she asked me if I wanted to do this show called Kubrilesque, which was all twelve Stanley Kubrick films done in a burlesque style. I said, yes, and fell in love with the art form. I started doing shows around LA, and met all the burlesque dancers and producers. I kept building my brand, and fine tuning my particular style. And, I treated it as a business. I put up a website, took pictures, and made my own reels. I started producing about two years ago, because I wanted to do the themes that I was truly passionate about. And, today, I produce three original events, and book out two others.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
If it was smooth, it wouldn’t be art, right? There has been a lot of challenges along the way. Producing, especially, because it is time consuming, and all you hope is that people will show up to see what you worked so hard on. Performing is also hard on the body, and most professional dancers are double or triple booked on a weekend night. So, you’re running around town, having to keep your energy level up to give a good performance, while maintaining your health. A lot of times, it’s not glamorous. But, to me that is the real beauty of it. I welcome the challenges, and have been more accepting of them. When I created Blue Velvet and The House of Red Velvet, it started as projects that I was unsure of working. I told my performers I had no idea if people were going to show up, but to trust me this one time. I love them for giving me that trust, because I ended up – thankfully- being able to continue. There is an audience for both of these shows. It was a chance and a risk, but if there is one thing I learned it is that you have to take the risk. Otherwise, you will never know. And, then why do it? Why perform? Why create art? I still have panic attacks before every House of Red Velvet show. I still secretly wonder if what I made is good or will translate, but you have to get out there and give your all. The struggle is worth it in the end.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am a creator, and artist of live entertainment. I am a burlesque dancer, and an actress. I am the producer of Blue Velvet, The House of Red Velvet, and Alligator Wine. I am very proud of these three shows. They are rooted in pure passion and artistry. We all work so hard to put everything in them, and they all have grown into these pulsating hearts. I think what makes them different is there is simply nothing else like it anywhere. I think that is what draws people to the experiences.
For Blue Velvet and Alligator Wine, I get to work with the incredible Dave Cavalier Trio. They are one of the most talented bands in the scene. And, they have their whole other stage show also. Blue Velvet is a show with no sets lists, no choreography, and no rules. We enter each show completely free. And, we are forced to pay attention to each other to create this very raw and beautiful moment in time. The audience witnesses something different each time, and they become involved in the whole thing. It feels like this psychedelic, rock and roll infused, disorienting dream.
For The House of Red Velvet, the description is exactly what it is. “Euphoric Dark Art. Surreal. Erotica”. I wanted to make a performance art show that was dark and mindfucking and had substance and meaning. I wanted to play with surrealism in performance. The House of Red Velvet is one of the most important projects of my career. I am very proud of what we have been making lately. I sense a strong camaraderie with the performers. We finish each other’s thoughts. It’s been very beautiful, and fulfilling as an artist to make these.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Passion, or as the Germans say “leidenschaft”. (I have always been inspired when I travel to Berlin, and I have a deep connection there.) I think my passion is the one quality that has gotten me to where I am. I am always looking for ways to be inspired. I love music more than anything. I love moving to it. I love creating emotional scenes. I love blues rock and roll, and dark surrealistic art. Everything I have worked on and done well on, it was because of the passion behind it that kept me going.
- Website: oliviabellafontaine.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/oliviabellafontaine
- Facebook: facebook.com/missoliviabellafontaine
- Other: patreon.com/oliviabellafontaine
Meredith M. Carlson
Daniel J. Sliwa