Kalinka Kalaschnikow, the secret weapon of burlesque/Kalinka Kalaschnikow, tajno oružje burleske (interview)

As a big fan of burlesque I had the opportunity to watch and meet many performers but this year I met wonderful redhead Kalinka Kalschnikow whose performances I saw live @Dolce Vita vintage heritage festival and Trash'n'Burn kustom kulture and hotrod event. For all of you who aren’t that familiar with burlesque, it's a variety show characterized by broad ribald comedy, dancing, and striptease. I am big lover of burlesque and I saw many shows, met many performers and also stayed in touch with them.

Watching Kalinka was like I was being transferred to a different era. I loved her "Orient Act" and "Ship Ahoy" performances. Kalinka is very charming lady and I love her personal style because she is not only a burlesque dancer; she is real-life pin up lady and owns a vintage clothing store in Vienna.

I decided to contact her and ask her few questions about burlesque and vintage fashion so...let’s start.

Kalinka darling, I will start with a typical question but I really want to know:

G: How did you get your unique stage name Kalinka Kalaschnikow? What do you think, how do burlesque dancers usually get their names?

K: It took me a very long to find my stage name. When I started with burlesque a friend of mine gave me my first stage name which was "La Veuve Noire", because at the end of my first burlesque act I used to kill a man on stage (just for show). But with the years my style changed and "La Veuve Noire" didn´t fit my personality anymore. Furthermore, I didn´t seem like a French girl at all, so everybody was using my private nick name, which was not a good stage name. The people always thought I was Russian, and for sure I love Vodka. So another friend gave me my new stage name Kalinka Kalaschnikow... and I love being Kalinka! Some dancers find their name by accident, some have to think about it or some even use their real names. But the most important thing is that people can remember it easily. The name should also fit your stage character; it can be funny, sexy, dangerous, soft or powerful.

G: How did you get into the burlesque industry? Where did you do your first burlesque performance and what was your inspiration to start this art?

K: My first boyfriend always said I should start to do burlesque, but at this time (15 years ago) there was no burlesque in Austria and I didn´t know how to begin. But 6 years ago, I was working as a model at a fashion show. Someone was supposed to be stripping at the end of the fashion show, but the girl canceled the gig last minute and so they asked me if I could do it. And so it happened that I had my very first and very spontaneous burlesque debut. At this time I knew nothing about burlesque, I only saw some videos online but never live. But after my first experience I started to get more and more into burlesque.

G: Did you have any dance experience before you start burlesque?

K: I was dancing ballet when I was a kid. But since I started burlesque I have also visited different dancing classes like tango and modern dance. That's why I like burlesque; you can bring all the things you love into your performances.

G: How much work goes into creating a performance, and where does it start? Do you design the costumes for your performances yourself?

K: Every dancer has another way to create their acts. For me it usually starts with the idea of the role I want to create, and then I start searching for the right music (that usually takes very long). After that I start working on my costume and in the end the choreography, but to be honest I often change everything before the premiere. It’s a creative process and you need to get kissed by the muse. I do everything that’s possible myself, but corsets and more complicated pieces are made by costume designers.

G: What are your favourite costumes and acts and can you tell me how you got the inspiration for your acts?

K: My favorite acts are "The Curse of the Golden Flower" and "Illusionen". For the "Curse of the Golden Flower" I got inspired by the movie and also by "House of Flying Daggers". The act is very dark and creepy. In my act "Illusionen" I´m a drunken clown who doesn't really give a shit about his work, then with the change of the music his emotions change and the burlesque part of the act starts out in a chair dance. I just love to do this act.

G: Did burlesque change over the years? Do you have your favourite burlesque performer and pin up girl/"golden" actress from past?

K: Everything changes when it gets more popular, there are many girls now in burlesque, but that's likely to be a temporary fashion. Only the real burlesque girls will be left in the end. I don´t have an idol because in burlesque everybody's unique and that’s the way it should be. But for sure I'm inspired by women like Marlene Dietrich and Rita Hayworth (G: Good taste, my fav too :))

G: You own a Vintage clothing store in Wienna "Goldstück" can you tell me something about it?

K: Yes I´m part of Goldstück Vienna. Together with Antonia Gruber the organizer of Cirque Rouge, Austria's biggest Burlesque event I opened the first version of our shop in Vienna in 2012, but at the beginning we only planned to resell vintage clothing's and to only do a small brand by ourselves. But it turned out that our own creations got far more attention. So we opened Goldstück. The clothes are all handmade in Vienna and are vintage inspired, mostly by the 50s.

G: How do people accept and respond to burlesque in Vienna? Can you tell me something about the rockabilly and vintage scene in Vienna?

K: Now we are at a point where many people know about burlesque, still they are often surprised when they see their first burlesque show and they recognize that burlesque is not cheesy or vulgar. The rockabilly scene is rather small in Vienna, but the Vintage scene has become really huge, from Lindy Hop to fashion, Vintage is a big thing in Vienna.

G: Do you travel a lot? Which country left the best impression on you?

K: Mostly in Europe, there's not really a favorite country, since it always depends on the people I meet in this short time. But maybe Stockholm and Amsterdam are leading a little bit. China was also a very interesting experience; I would love to go there again, even if only for the good food.

G: Did you enjoy Croatia? Will you visit us again and show me some burlesque steps?
K: Oh yes I enjoyed it a lot! I always try to stay a little longer and turn it into a short holiday. And I always have an amazing and cheering audience in Croatia. That's one of the most gratifying things for a performer, to feel the people enjoy your show. For sure I´ll come back! I already thought about organizing a burlesque workshop the next time I come to Croatia. Hopefully it will work out.

G: And one last question: you have stunning figure! Can you give us some beauty tips?

K: Thanks for the compliment. Sure, dancing! It´s an amazing workout and you train every part of your body. And the best thing about it is that it doesn't feel like sports at all. Thank you Kalinka, for a lovely interview, you helped a lot! See you these days @Zagreb.

Kalinka, Betsy Rose and Tamara Mascara will be performing a the Hollowood Vanity Club in Zagreb on November 15th this year. Hope to see you there!

Croatian version:

Dakle...kako sam veliki fan burleske, jednoga bih dana voljela zaplesati istu, no sudeći prema situaciji kod nas, ponosu i predrasudama oko sebe, ipak se još nisam odvažila.

Burleska je varijanta plesa kojeg karakteriziraju komedije, gluma i striptiz. Gledala sam brojne nastupe, upoznala sam brojne plesačice; sjećam se dana kada sam sa jedva 20 godina upoznala Missy Malone, a još uvijek čekam dan da upoznam jednu i jedinu kraljicu - Ditu Von Teese.

U posljednje vrijeme za oko mi je zapela prelijepa Kalinka Kalaschnikow, koju sam gledala na rovinjskom "Dolce Vita" vintage heritage festivalu, te "Trash'n'Burn", prvom Hrvatskom hotrod eventu u Međimurju.

Gledajući Kalinku kao da sam se teleportirala u neku drugu eru i to upravo moju najdražu. Obožavam Kalinkin "Orient Act" i "Ship Ahoy" performans. Prvi je zapravo klasična burleska orijentalnoga tipa dok je drugi inspiriran mornarskom pričom. Kalinka je uživo jako šarmantna gospođica i obožavam njezin osobni stil jer ona nije samo plesačica burleske, nego i "pin up" dama koja posjeduje vintage trgovinu u Beču, koju ću svakako posjetiti uskoro. Odlučila sam kontaktirati Kalinku i postaviti joj nekoliko pitanja o njoj, njenom radu, plesu i općenito vintage sceni u Beču.

Još jedna informacija, naime Kalinka, Betsy Rose i Tamara Mascara 15. 11. ove godine nastupaju u zagrebačkom Hollowood Vanity klubu.

Dakle Draga Kalinka, počet ću sa pomalo tipičnim pitanjima, no zbilja želim znati...

G: Kako si dobila svoje jedinstveno scensko ime Kalinka Kalaschnikow?

Što misliš kako plesačice burleske osmisle svoja imena ili točnije pseudonime?

K: Dugo mi je trebalo da nađem svoje scensko ime. Kada sam započinjala sa burleskom, prijatelj mi je dao moje prvo scensko ime "La Veuve Noire" (na francuskom - Crna Udovica) zbog moga prvog burlesknog nastupa, točnije završetka tog nastupa u kojem bih "ubila" svoga partnera na pozornica. No, vremenom se moj stil mijenjao i "Crna Udovica" više nije pristajala mojoj burlesknoj osobnosti. Nadalje, nisam se dobro osjećala kao "Francuskinja" i svi su me zvali mojim privatnim nadimkom (koji nam Kalinka nije otkrila) koji u svakom slučaju nije bio dobar izbor za scensko ime. No, kako su ljudi uvijek mislili da sam Ruskinja, a svakako volim i vodku, jedan prijatelj se dosjetio imena Kalinka Kalaschinkow...i tako je nastala Kalinka, u svakom slučaju - volim biti Kalinka. Smatram da neke plesačice odaberu svoje ime sasvim slučajno, a neke čak upotrijebe svoja stvarna imena, no najvažnije je da ime bude lako pamtljivo i da ljudima uđe u uho. Ime tj. pseudonim također mora odgovarati karakteru plesačice, mora biti pomalo vrckavo, sexy, opasno, nježno, ali i moćno.

G: Kako si ušla u industriju burleske? Kada i gdje si imala svoj prvi nastup te što te inspiriralo da izvodiš burlesku?

K: Moj prvi dečko mi je uvijek govorio da bih se trebala baviti burleskom, ali u to vrijeme (točnije prije 15 godina) nije bilo burleske u Austriji i nikako nisam znala kako i odakle da krenem. Prije 6 godina radila sam kao model na jednome modnom eventu. Revija je bila osmišljena tako da je na kraju nastupa netko trebao izvesti svojevrstan striptiz, Djevojka koja je to trebala uraditi otkazala je čas prije nastupa pa su pitali mene ako sam voljna uskočiti. Ja sam uskočila i tako je sve počelo. Moj prvi burleskni nastup!

G: Jesi li imala kakvih iskustva u plesu prije nego si počela plesati burlesku?

K: Kao dijete plesala sam balet. Prije nego sam krenula sa burleskom pohađala sam razne tečajeve plesa, kao tango i moderni ples. Upravo zato volim burlesku, mogu unijeti svoj način plesa u nastupe.

G: Koliko posla je potrebno za stvaranje jednog performansa i kako to kreće?

Kreiraš li sama kostime za nastupe?

K: Svaki plesač ima svoj način na koji stvara svoje nastupe. Kod mene sve počne sa idejom samom, točnije s ulogom koju osmislim za sebe u svom nastupu, tada tražim odgovarajuću glazbu za nastup (to obično traje najduže). Nakon što osmislim ulogu i glazbu, radim na svome kostimu i na samom kraju pozabavim se koreografijom ali uvijek nešto izmijenim prije same premijere. Sve to je jedan kreativni proces za koji trebate poljubac muze. Sve što mogu uradim sama, ali korzete i komplicirane komade ipak nabavim kod kostimografa i dizajnera.

G: Koja burleskna točka ti je najdraža i odakle inspiracija za tvoje burleskne nastupe?

K: Nastup koji volim najviše izvoditi je "Kletva zlatnog cvijeta" i "Iluzije". Za prvu sam se inspirirala filmom "Kuća letećih bodeža". Ta točka je veoma mračna i pomalo jeziva. U svom nastupu "Iluzije" ja sam pijani klaun koji ne mari za svijet oko sebe, no s promjenom glazbe emocije klauna se mijenjaju, a sam nastup se odvija na - stolici. Sve u svemu, obožavam tu točku.

G: Da li se burleska generalno mijenjala tokom godina? Imaš li možda najdražu ikonu ili pin up djevojku iz ere zlatnoga Hollywooda?

K: Sve se mijenja populariziranjem pa tako i burleska. Danas je mnogo djevojaka uključeno u burlesku, no to mi se čini kao nešto trenutno i pomodno. Samo najbolje burleskne performerice će ostati u tome do kraja. Osobno, nemam idole jer smatram da svaka burleska treba biti originalna, no svakako sam inspirirana ikonama i ženama kao što su Rita Hayworth i Marlene Dietrich.

G: Imaš vlastiti vintage dućan u Beču - "Goldstuck". Možeš li mi reći nešto o tome?

K: Tako je. Otvorila sam dućan zajedno sa Antoniom Gruber, koja je ujedno i organizator "Cirque Rouge" (austrijskog najpoznatijeg burlesknog eventa). Dućan smo otvorile 2012.godine. U samome početku planirale smo prodavati isključivo vintage komade, no s vremenom smo same stvorile manji brand. Na kraju je ispalo da su naše kreacije dobile mnogo više pažnje nego vintage komadi, te smo stvorile i otvorile "Goldstuck". Svi odjevni komadi su ručne izrade, a inspiraciju za stil najviše crpimo iz perioda pedesetih godina

G: Kako ljudi prihvaćaju i reagiraju na burlesku u Beču? Možeš li mi reći nešto o rockabilly i vintage sceni u Beču?

K: Ljudi u Beču su upućeni u pojam burleske, no ima nekih koji se uvijek iznenade kad shvate da burleska sama po sebi nije vulgarna. Rockabilly scena u Beču je relativno mala, no vintage scena je velika, od ekipe koja je u tome zbog plesa pa sve do onih koji su u tome zbog mode same.

G: Da li mnogo putuješ? Koja zemlja te se najviše dojmila?

K: Najviše putujem po Europi, nemam neku posebno dragu zemlju u kojoj sam bila, to zapravo najviše ovisi o ljudima koje upoznam u tom vremenu. Ipak izdvojila bi Stockholm i Amsterdam. Iz Kine također nosim interesantna iskustva, voljela bi je posjetiti opet, ako ništa drugo zbog odlične hrane.

G: Kakva su iskustva iz Hrvatske, jesi li se dobro snašla? Hoćeš li nas opet posjetiti i pokazati mi par burlesknih koraka?

K: Oh, da, uživala sam u Hrvatskoj. Uvijek nastojim ostati što dulje, tako da se svako moje putovanje pretvori u manji odmor. U Hrvatskoj imam odličnu publiku i podršku, a to je najbitnija stvar za performera, osjetiti da publika uživa u tvom nastupu. Trenutno razmišljam da organiziram radionicu burleske u Hrvatskoj i nadam se da će to zaživjeti.

G: Za kraj, evo jedan kompliment. Imaš odličnu figuru! Imaš li kakav savjet vezan za to?

K: Hvala na komplimentu. Naravno - ples! To je odlična vježba, koja trenira svaki dio tvoj tijela, a ples sam kao takav ne ostavlja dojam sporta. Upravo to je najbolja stvar kod plesanja. Hvala, Kalinka! Vidimo se u Zagrebu!

Wanna book Kalinka?

Kathrin Pfeiffer

steingasse 29/12 . 1030 vienna . austria

mobile: +43 (0) 699 11115887




1. Foto: John-Paul Bichard

2. Foto: John-Paul Bichard

3. Foto : Severin Dostal

4. Foto : Cirque Rouge

5. Foto: Kalinka Facebook

6. Foto: Bostjan Tacol, Photobilly

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