About this post!
This month I am delighted to introduce Heidi Von Swan’s Cheek of It! Story as part of our 10-year celebration. Heidi is a truly fabulous performer, teacher and a dedicated big Cheekette Sister. A brave and bold performer, creating totally original characters that certainly have me in tears of laughter, a wise and wonderful teacher and a committed member of our community, always available to encourage, empower and praise. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.
‘You will always be a Cheekette’
So what does it mean to be a Cheekette? What a question! And one I can only hope to do justice to. Being part of the Cheekette sisterhood starts from as soon as you take your first class, whether that is a drop-in at Pineapple Dance Studios, as part of a burlesque hen do, or when you join the truly magical journey of the Showtime course, and it is just that, a sisterhood. It is about love, support, and celebrating the wonderful women we all are, and the talents and magic we all hold within us, as well as the potential we have yet to develop. Let me give you a snapshot of my journey through The Cheek of It, so that maybe you can see what I mean if you are about to embark on the journey yourself.
From frustrated duckling to Heidi Von Swan:
I grew up dancing and adored ballet. I went on to do most types of dance from Hip-Hop to Classical Spanish, but I also adored acting and filled my Performing Arts Degree with as much acting as I could. So I graduated….and then what!? I set up a dance company with some friends in Liverpool, I taught back at university, I acted in short films and play’s but then what!?….I wasn’t really sure but knew that ‘this’ wasn’t it. I went into teaching and began to truly resent myself and my life because deep inside I knew I wasn’t reaching my full potential and just doing what I loved…being on the stage! Performing! So how and why did I become a Cheekette? To be honest, I’m not sure I knew just what I was letting myself in for!…in a good way!
It’s not your average Burlesque course!
You get a lot more than you bargained for, again, in a good way! I knew what Burlesque was and had seen several shows, but didn’t associate it with something I would do, although funnily enough, my friends did! I remember a friend saying, ‘you should do that’ whilst we were watching Miss Polly Rae’s Hurly Burly Show, but it was only once I had an epiphany during a Hip-Hop class, that ‘this wasn’t really my style’, that the idea of doing burlesque came to me. That was in 2013 and in November 2013 I was graduating from the Spotlight course at Madame Jojo’s. A dream come true!
Just the beginning
But that was just the beginning! I have gone on to perform nationally, win Infinitease 2014, and perform at various comedy nights as the only Burlesque performer. These have been just some of the highlights for me thus far. I had started the Showtime course with an idea of what I thought I wanted to do. Lady Cheek pulled something out of me that I didn’t know was there. So it turns out I’m a bit of a comedy character actress, as much as I love glitter, I also love donning a false pair of teeth and a wig! Lady Cheek saw this and opened the door to some very unsavoury characters… the ‘cockney cleaning lady’ who’s obsessed with Dita Von Teese, Jocelyn the bankruptee who grows vegetables in very questionable places, and the one and only Lady Hoohah, the love child of Lady Gaga and Elton John. Not only that, she trusted Lady Hoohah to compere ‘The Siren’s’ showcase on Battersea barge in August 2016. I’m not sure the audience was 100% ready for that, but after a few drinks, they were slightly less shell shocked!
Where I am at right now
Last but not least, one of the most beautiful parts to my ‘Cheek of It’ story, is where I am at right now. My dance, acting and teaching experience has meant that I am now covering Lady Cheek on her maternity break, to guide the Spotlights on their journey and teach the drop-in classes at Pineapple Dance Studio’s every Wednesday. So as well as performing, I get to guide other wonderful women on their journey too. I am also teaching BurleX Fitness classes, which are a combination of Burlesque and Fitness, and an incredibly fun workout! (Check out BurleX Fitness South London on Facebook for details) My goal for 2017 is to experiment with performing on the comedy circuit…..watch this space!
But best of all I have my friends whom I went on and continue this journey with. Amazing women who have the same passion for performing and glitter as I do, and who are, on and off stage, my true soul sisters.
I find it interesting that I am writing this blog now, as I have been meaning to start my blog about the life of a performer and the joy’s, ups and downs, and yet again The Cheek of It has mystically stepped in to steer the way yet again. Lady Cheek’s determination for you to celebrate you, is her greatest gift….jump in and find out who that person is.
What does it mean to be a Cheekette?
Fulfilling your dreams, and meeting some kick-ass women and friends along the way! Once a Cheekette, always a Cheekette!