Had it not been for a friend’s suggestion, Scarlet Delirium’s career likely would have gone in a different direction.
Delirium was 20 when her friend — after seeing a few shows — recommended she pursue the art of burlesque.
Intrigued, she signed up a for an eight-week course with the Screaming Chicken Theatrical Society, a Vancouver burlesque stage show producer, that taught her about dance, costuming and how to connect with the crowd.
“It was wonderfully immersive,” Delirium recalled
By 2010, Delirium was hooked.
She loved performing and offering a positive experience to her audience with other Chicken dancers, Boutique Cabaret and The VanDolls.
Three years ago, the Port Coquitlam resident met with six other established burlesque dancers who identified themselves as having Indigenous heritage.
And together they formed Virago Nation, Canada’s first all-Indigenous burlesque act.
Delirium, a Kwakwaka’wakaw performer, said Virago dancers often take inspiration — with movements, music and dress, for example — from their individual backgrounds to incorporate into their routines, which have been seen by university and festival crowds across Canada (this weekend, the troupe has shows in Haida Gwaii).
Next month, Virago will show its work at the 14th annual Vancouver International Burlesque Festival; Delirium will perform a solo piece she debuted last September — created for the Talking Stick Festival — at the Showpony Soiree at the Vancouver Playhouse on April 5.
A costumer designer and model by day, Delirium said she looks forward to the annual gathering as much as the ticket-holders as “it’s a great opportunity for us to get out of our scene and see what other performers from different cities and countries are doing. It’s a great source for inspiration.”
For tickets and the line-up to the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival, visit vibf.ca.