Burlesque of Sherborne

A mum of three just might be giving Sherborne their very own “Calendar girls” as she begins teaching her first Burlesque lessons.

The classes are being held by Jo Freestone, 44, award – winning actress of the Amateur Players of Sherborne, and a granddaughter of a professional Shakespearian actor.

“In holding burlesque classes I believe that there are women of all ages, shapes and sizes who feel that they would like to do something a little more risqué in their spare time, to push themselves that little bit extra and have a right laugh because it is really good fun after all,” said Ms Freestone.

Burlesque, the art of theatrical striptease, dates back to the 19th Century. In 20th century America the form became associated with a variety show in which striptease was the leading attraction. Performers such as Dita Von Teese and Immodesty Blaize brought a sophisticated note to an opportunity for the modern day woman to learn the old art of seduction.

Ms Freestone remembers: “I think I first became interested in burlesque performance when I was 12 years old. I watched the film musical ‘Gypsy’ by Jules Styne and Stephen Sondheim and I was transfixed with the fact that you could bewitch an audience with the promise of what only may happen.”

One of 15 brave women that attended the first workshop, said: “I am thankful for a great time at the burlesque class because it is amazing how we all grew in confidence in just two hours. We learned loads and will practise like mad for weeks to come.”

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