There are many different styles of drag: campy drag comedians, dark goth queens, glamorous pageant queens, androgynous genderfuck queens, and more. I have slowly been finding out what works for me. As much as I enjoy the 80s styling of Kyle Minogue or Madonna, I think I prefer the glamour of 50s movie star bomb shells. That was an age when people appreciated womanly curves, where stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Rosemary Clooney, and Doris Day were backed by big bands that always make you want to jump up, dance, and sing. Less twerking, more swing.
So for my second song at “Party under the Sea” I chose “It’s oh so quiet” by Björk. While Björk’s cover is only from 1995 (which is still older than some of the USC students!!), the song actually dates back to the 1948. “Und jetzt ist es still” was originally written in German in 1948 by Hans Lang and Erich Meder (listen here), before Betty Hutton made it famous in English three years later (listen here). Supposedly the Betty’s version is usually played to fast on Youtube. Björk’s version slows it down, making it perfect for a pole routine. I could sneak around and lip-sync the quiet parts, then bring out the big pole tricks during the band choruses.
To choreograph the song, I headed back to White Hall Arts Academy, home of my vocal instructor, Tanisha Hall, and my new dance instructor Jasmine Yancy. At last year show’s, Tanisha helped with my stage presence for Caro Emerald’s “Coming back as a Man”. Typically, I am not a very expressive person, so I need all the help here I can get. Whenever I thought I was going big, Jasmine would find a way for me to go bigger. Of course, sometimes I couldn’t keep up with all her steps. Her fancy turns would turn into an out of control tornado as the song goes “blow, blow, blow, blow, blow”. Yet the song has a particular childlike exuberance so even when I mess up, I think it still worked.
Later I brought my x-pole to the dance studio, so I could run through the entire song. Here is one of the the rehearsal video. This is just for the curious, the rest of you can go ahead and skip ahead to my performance from the actual show.
As you can tell, I love my tutu. I had been looking for a reason to buy one for so long. Parts of this song, particularly the 3rd verse, remind me of a little ballerina music box.
If you like this, there have been a few other burlesque versions of the song that inspired me including Brittany Murphy sung the song the Pussy Cat Dolls. Betty D’Light has a balloon burlesque routine that she performs almost entirely en pointe. Also after I had choreographed the routine, I discovered that Margarit Davtian had won at Pacific Pole Champion ship with another version.