Sealed With a Kiss: Love Letters From Tush! Burlesque

by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS

More than love will be in the air when Olympia’s Own Tush! Burlesque takes the main stage of The Washington Center four days after Valentine’s Day. A highlight of the show will be the first-ever aerial burlesque performance by Valerie Veils. “I’m excited. I’m pretty nervous, though,” Veils admitted. “The piece is actually dedicated to my significant other…I’ve been waiting until I was strong enough and ready to perform aerial…I’ve been doing classes with Sara Sparrow, and then I also practice at Airbound Arts.”

We asked Veils about the difficulties of performing burlesque while hanging on for dear life. “I made a costume for my performance,” she said. “I had some see-through underlayers. I just ripped my skin apart. It was not enough, so I have some extra bruises that weren’t there before. I kind of have to rethink my approach with my costuming, so that’s been a really big challenge…It’s definitely harder to practice, because doing those full aerial acts really takes it out of you, stamina-wise. It’s been tough to get everything exactly how I want it, just ’cause my body’s tired…I can’t rehearse in my living room.”

Though earthbound prior to this particular event, Veils is a veteran performer. “In 2008, I took a class with Miss Indigo Blue in Seattle, where I was living,” she recalled. “I decided to do it because when I was younger I was a gymnast, and I just didn’t have a lot of outlets as an adult to use my skills and dance and make art…From there I joined Sinner Saint Burlesque in Seattle and performed weekly at the Noc Noc. I did that for a couple of years…When I moved back up to Washington, I joined Tush! So I’ve been doing burlesque up and down the West Coast.”

In her day-to-day life, Veils is an operating-room nurse. “I look quite different there,” she noted, laughing. “Everything’s covered. I wear a mask.” She bills herself as “The Heroine of Hoochie-Coo,” which she defines as “the art of the striptease…Back in the day when it was used, it was a pretty derogatory term, but I think now it’s more empowering. The ‘Heroine’ comes from ‘Valerie,’ which is ‘valor.’ I don’t think a lot of people get it, but I get it.”

What: Sealed With a Kiss: Love Letters From Tush!

Where: The Washington Center for the Performing Arts,
512 Washington St. SE, Olympia

When: 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 18

How much: $16.50-$45.50

Learn more: 360-753-8586 | The Washington Center

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