The “Birth of Pearl” character and performance has its aesthetic roots in the 1400s Italian Renaissance during which the famous painting by Sandro Botticelli, the “Birth of Venus,” was painted. It depicts Venus – the goddess of love and sexuality – emerging from a clam shell. Accordingly, this act is all about a pearl coming out of her shell and finding her inner goddess. Highly appropriate for birthdays – since pearls are “born” inside a shell before they come out into the world – I have thoroughly enjoyed the evolution of this now-signature act.
In the picture below you can see the giant abalone shell that I happened to stumble upon, quite literally, on the day of my inaugural performance of this routine! Subsequent iterations of this act use feather fans to simulate an oyster shell.
I performed this burlesque piece for the first time at Mikka Minx’s Surreality party in late 2015. Her theme color was gold, so one of the two songs was “Gold Dust” by Flux Pavilion, a heavy-hitting bass tune. Bass music + burlesque is a rare combination that I love to play with.
The other song I use is “Crystalised” by The xx, which I use in reference to a pearl’s nacre substance and is much easier to dance to seductively.
For my 28th birthday, I planned a full dinner party around this theme. Our three-course menu included:
- Oysters to start, of course
- Juicy sous vide steak for the meat eaters
- Byaldi for the vegans (like ratatouille, but fancier)
- Vegan chocolate cake for dessert, as well as whipped cream and chocolate dressing served on people platters