Diva Disastar South Africa's Original Dame of Burlesque

Whimsical and cheeky, Diva Disastar entices and entertains audiences with her sultry smile and burly buffoonery.

With a penchant for bawdy humor and bad-to-the-bone bumps and grinds, this dynamic ‘South Africa’s Original Dame of Burlesque’ is a lady of many disguises!

Being a founder of the artform in her country, Diva has over 18 years experience in the sensual arts, and started the first troupe in SA, Black Orchid Burlesque, in 2007. Since then, she has continued to perform across stages in Namibia, SA and UK; and now ONLINE. Diva Disastar is not only a well-seasoned and multi-talented Performing Artiste and show Producer in her own right, but she also creates costumes for the community at large through Disastar By Design, while hosting classes and specialty workshops through Black Orchids’ Burlesque Academy. Truly a glittering godmother of the artform in her country, Diva Disastar continues to teach and inspire performers across the world through her online workshops, where she passionately shares her seductive secrets with the world!

Photo by Miss Hepburn Photography (2019)
Photo by Miss Hepburn Photography (2019)

About Diva Disastar

A little backstory behind your favourite South African burlesque diva.

History & Influences

I studied ballet for many years as a young girl, and did Drama for most of my school life. This helped give me some foundations to start from and helped focus my emphasis on character driven performances. The biggest influence on my burlesque would be what I learnt from dancing in Gentlemen’s Clubs while earning money to pay my University degree. It’s a cliche yes, but I will never regret doing it! I learnt that my body had power, and that I was able to take ownership of my own sensuality and sexuality. After teaching pole dance and lap dancing to female clientele at the clubs under the company name ‘Seductive Secrets’, I decided to pursue Burlesque instead and bring an art form to life that had not yet hit the shores of South Africa.

Burlesque gave me back my self confidence, after years of feeling less than while dancing for Gentlemen’s Clubs. I realised that it was a wonderfully transformative performance art that not only celebrated originality, but also self expression of sensuality in a way that makes people blossom both on and off stage.

 At first we struggled to find any information on what this incredible artform was, and even what we had access to via the internet was utterly limited in 2007. We had no history to draw from, no local legends to look up too. I originally formulated my style around Gypsy Rose Lee, as I loved her approach to the audience. I love bantering with the crowd and being vocally saucy. As my character developed I naturally gravitated to the likes of Jo Weldon, Iva Handful, Medianoche, Aurora Galore, Immodesty Blaze and more. I like to think of myself as a diverse and dynamic performer who has dabbled in many styles and genres.  

Midnightfanaffair vaudeville
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Diva Antoinette Koekies & Creme Miss Hepburn

Inspiration

As a costumier, choreographer and producer; I get show inspiration from everything! Sometimes it’s a song that becomes an earworm and needs to be released through dance, and sometimes it’s a colour, or a particular shoe or even a piece of jewellery that initiates a spark of creativity inside me.
 
While I have explored many, many different styles within the burlesque spectrum, I love performing alternative/horrorlesque burlesque, cheeky comedy acts and classic burlesque most of all. I love making audiences laugh, or I will attempt to awe them into silence! Either way, I just want to entertain peopel and make them feel something.

What does the family think?

At first I did not tell many family members, mainly because we live in a rather conservative society here in S.A. My friends were completely supportive, and still often pop into shows to see what we are up to after all these years. My whole family knows now, and fully accept that Burlesque is a natural extension of my crazy personality and determination to go against the mainstream. My mum’s my biggest fan!

Magicians Assitant Disasterous Diva

Burlesque Career Achievements and Top Highlights

Since beginning her burlesque journey in 2007, Diva Disastar has had the honour of performing on many different types of stages and collaborated with many incredible artists. Along with performing at Corporate Functions and Private Parties for some illustrious clients and famous celebrities, Diva also became a regular sight-for-sore-eyes on Festival stages across the country. Take a look at this list of notable achievements and career highlights, as Diva shares more about her profuse career performing and spreading the love for Burlesque acoss South Africa, and abroad.