part I of a 3 part burlesque student series

photo credit: Jill Mercy

happy Thursday y’all! and welcome to the first student on it all started when yours truly went to see the Flaunt Student Showcase in San Diego and I know I said I would give y’all a review but guess what? burlesque dance is a sacred space and some performers ask not to be published. so what was I to do?

I had to pivot and it started a beautiful thing; I reached out to burlesque students who would allow me not only their time and energy, but their *permission* to feature their alter ego and Della Limonchella was open to me interviewing her goddess self. so buckle up-> it’s going to be a wild ride.

how Della Limonchella came to be:

“My middle name in real life is Dell, so I knew Della was going to be part of it but then I got stuck so I googled how to choose your burlesque name and one of the options was ‘sometimes people use an alcohol they like’ and my immediate thought was ‘I like limoncello, I could modify that so it rhymes,’ and that was born.”

DL’s Burlesque Journey:

“I saw my first burlesque show 6 or 7 years ago in Chicago and I was in awe: I never knew anything like that existed. The first thing I told myself was ‘I could never do that, I could never get up on stage, I could never take my clothes off and be that confident’ and I kind of sat with that knowledge for a long time. Then 3.5 years ago I saw another burlesque performer; I’ve grown a lot in my confidence, and I was craving to be back on stage- I’m a theater nerd and love acting and I said, ‘you know what? I think it’s time for me to explore that.’”

where DL stands with burlesque today:

” I still feel like I’m pretty new; I’ve now performed for money, so I guess the technical term is that I’m professional, but I still feel like I’m learning everyday: I’m learning my style. Flaunt has given me a huge stepping stone and opportunity that I probably could not have just got on my own. I feel like I’m hitting the ground running…”

fun fact: Della’s husband (and biggest burlesque fan/supporter) helped her find Flaunt Dance Studio! seeing plus-sized girls on the website, he thought she would feel comfortable dancing at FDS; she’s been there ever since.

her burlesque scholarship:

not only is Coco L’Amour (owner of Flaunt Dance Studio) a mentor for Della Limonchella, “she’s become a friend, she’s amazing and so supportive.” she makes movement modifications for Della’s body, she checks in with her- “she’s my burlesque mama, even though she’s younger than me!”
photo credit: Jill Mercy

fighting to make her vision a reality:

" I was watching a Lizzo performance, and she pulled out a tequila bottle that was all blinged out and I decided 'I want to do that, I want to do a glitter pour.' I told Coco and she was supportive; Coco brought in one of the feedback instructors and they said 'don't do that, it's over done; it's an amateur thing to do.' I went to Coco and said 'I am an amateur, this is literally my first solo' and Coco was like 'absolutely, if you want to do it I support you.' and I was like 'I do, I want to do it,' even though someone big in the industry said 'don't do that.' It was one of the top 5 best moments of my life." 

“… I was like ‘I do, I want to do it,’ even though someone big in the industry said ‘don’t do that.’ It was one of the top 5 best moments of my life.”

– della limonchella

DL gets political

did you know Della Limonchella wanted to start burlesque 6 years ago? her first stop was building up her confidence and we’re so glad she did!
photo credit: Jen Acosta

“There’s definitely still holes with BIPOC and plus-size; there are some shows that definitely don’t watch out for that but there are a lot of people that are doing that now. I haven’t experienced much fat phobia in this space but again, I’m still in my bubble in San Diego so when I go outside of SD, I’m curious how it’s going to be…is it a lot of straight, cis, skinny white women? I’m part of the queer community as well, I’m bisexual so I explore a lot of the shows that are specifically queer or plus-size. I like to support my BIPOC shows when I can. I think there’s a huge coming up of these marginalized groups that I think is really great, but there’s still some work to do in the broader burlesque world.”

“I think a lot of it [burlesque] is misunderstood still; I have to teach a lot of people in my life that no, it’s not stripping necessarily: it’s an art form of removing your clothes. I think there still needs to be a lot of education for it but I love that it’s such a supportive community, especially with size because I am a plus-sized woman; I’ve never felt judged in this space.”
photo credit: Gina Barbara

DL wants to explore outside of SD in the next year, but emphasizes the “liberal” + “inclusivity” aspects of California burlesque.

DL on being part of a contemporary reclaiming of burlesque as a feminist movement…

“I love it. It really has a woman driven space, there’s definitely some amazing male dancers. It’s very empowering to lift up other women and cheer them *on* and give them the space to express themselves. So many new friends from this part of my life all have different backgrounds, we all have different stories and I love supporting them.”

photo credit: Jen Acosta

burlesque as art therapy for DL:

” I think any dance can be, but burlesque is a lot of therapy within your own head: you have to be confident enough to get up there and dance, and then you have to be confident enough to take your clothes off. It’s almost a 2 part thing. I’ve grown an insane amount since I’ve been doing burlesque with my confidence, with my posture, with my overall lifestyle.”

before we go

DL’s mission for burlesque is to “have fun” and show the future burlesque generation dancers that “people that look like me can *do* this.”

her performance is not designed for the male gaze: “I love showing women like me we can be sexy, we don’t have to hide our bodies. I’m sexy because I feel it inside of me, it has nothing to do with how I look.”

if Della Limonchella could give any advice to the novice burlesque dancer it would be “just start dancing, find a mentor, start going to shows- networking is huge in the industry. don’t worry about your style, don’t worry about a name yet; experiment as much as possible with what feels good to your body and have fun.”

don’t forget to follow DL on social media! @dellalimonchella



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