Velvet Kensington Burlesque: “To Use My Art to Continue to Empower Women and Femme Presenting People to Love and Own Their Bodies.”

Performing Artist name: Velvet Kensington, also known as Helen Fourness

Featured Works: Performance and Pin Up Shots 

Insightful, gorgeous, funny, and inventive: burlesque artist Velvet Kensington is a vivacious and creative entertainer. She is a trained and gifted dancer and thoughtful performing artist who engages her audience in inspired and sexy performances, combining the personal, political, erotic, humorous, and shocking, with a tone of empowerment, exploration, and playfulness. Learn more about her inspiration and her creative process in her answers to the 5 questions below. Also check our her performance and hosting reels (NSFW).

Additional Featured Works:

5 Questions for the Performing Artist:

1. What is performance to you?

Performance is being in front of a group of people as another version of myself, through make up and stature. I use humor to ease, educate, shock and/or seduce the audience. I do this using the “medium” of burlesque including different levels of nudity complimented by my studies in dance.

I perform Ballet/modern dance with the company called Ballez. This work is less based in sexuality than my work with burlesque and is not my choreography. Katy Pyle is the Artistic Director of Ballez.

Regardless of where or what I am performing, I perform with the hope that all audience members will walk away with a new nugget of knowledge.

2. What did you make or do in the past, and why?

I made an act about the midnight consumptions of ice cream. This was a comical act that culminated in me swimming in the ice cream on the floor. I developed this act to help debunk the shame on eating and loving eating. I also created an act in which I use my persona Plain Jane, the southern Mississippi swamp-grown little sister to Velvet, which ends in wine flowing from a men’s pair of underwear. This piece is to push the boundaries of gender roles in burlesque and shock the un-expecting audience member.

3. What are you making now, and why?

I am currently creating two pieces. One is a humorous act to a pop song by Selena Gomez in which I play with the sin of greed ending with a shock that I cannot reveal unless you come to a show.

Another act I am developing is an act to the Rolling Stone’s song Gimme Shelter about the affects of poverty and sexism on women. This act is in the very early stages of development so I do not have details to share. My hopes for this act are to display the mistreatment of women and feminine presenting people in this society.

4. What are your hopes for the future?

My hope is that by the time this is published, I will not have to call Donald Trump Mr. President.

My hopes for my art are:

  1. to use my art to continue to empower women and femme presenting people to love and own their bodies,
  2. to bring love and hope to those who have experienced trauma because they are not seen as society’s norm,
  3. To have performed nation wide as well as over seas in Europe.

5. What else would you like to say?

I am a huge advocate of using performance to empower those who do not already have it and spread awareness of the injustices that face our world today.

Artist Supplied Background:

International Master of Tassels 2015 and 2-time winner of New York’s Master of Tassels, Velvet Kensington, has been gracing burlesque stages since 2006. Known as the Crushed Velvet of Burlesque, Velvet loves sharing her campy humor and voluptuous body with every person she meets. Before moving to New York, she was a member of the DC Gurly Show, DC’s Premier Queer Burlesque troupe. While working with them, she honed her hosting and twirling skills. Before becoming a Burlesque performer, Velvet Kensington received a BFA in Dance from George Mason University. This degree included composition, music, theater and other performing arts. Velvet uses this degree in her work in Burlesque as well as her involvement in the queer dance company, Ballez.

Velvet Kensington is also on Facebook.

Headshot by Bettina Mae

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5 Questions for the Artist, © Julia Travers

Julia A. Travers

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