Bristol's Badass Burlesque Show

The Disability Dance

There have been some wonderful, kind things written about me lately. People compare me to a whirlwind, because of the sparky energy I give off, both backstage and onstage. But let me tell you a secret about that energy. It’s only there because for two days before you saw me, I rested solidly. And I mean rested, I didn’t cook, brush my hair or have a shower. Because these everyday tasks, so normal for so many of you, are hard work for me. I choose to give up the everyday normality for the joy of performing. I would give up a thousand “normal” moments for just one moment onstage, shining brightly, entertaining people with the character I created.

Lily Belle & her lime. (c) Nathan Hicks

There are a great many disabled performers out there, both in the burlesque and cabaret and more mainstream performance. Some of them are obvious, some of them are so well hidden as to be completely invisible. Every one of these performers inspire me. Diva Hollywood is one of the most open about her disability, and I draw strength from her, her strength and her professionalism.

Diva Hollywood (c) Ina Glow Photography

Being a professional, now here’s a touchy subject. I will have you all know that in my five and a half years of performing, I have cancelled only twice due to ill health. I soldier on, through pain and fatigue, because I believe my illness should not stop me from stepping on that stage with a smile on my face, and stepping off it again a few moments later leaving the audience smiling too. Some of you have seen me backstage, dosing myself with five kinds of painkillers, sweating like a turkey at christmas, and grimacing like a church gargoyle. You have then witnessed me moments later stepping onto the stage with a spring in my step and a shimmy to my booty. Unfortunately, this has brought up some rather cruel accusations of “faking it,” although thankfully not from anybody who it would be worthwhile listening to. I’m here to tell you, I’m not faking it, I’m a PROFESSIONAL. I get shit done. If I signed a contract saying I would dance two numbers, then I will damn well dance two numbers, and I’ll be earning every penny of what I get paid.

I’m here to remind you, we are all precious, brittle creatures. No matter what you think you might see, you have no idea what is going on behind our smiles. Sometimes our costume is slipping, sometimes we’ve had arguments with our friends, and sometimes, we are in incredible pain.

Lily Belle

We should all worship each other, our bodies, abled or disabled are precious things. My body happens to be slightly more broken than some others, but that does not stop me from walking on to a stage, shaking my ass and giving the audience the time of their life.

Dance on sisters. Dance on.

Lily Belle

6 comments on “The Disability Dance

  1. Delilah
    June 11, 2012

  2. Tiger Tiger
    June 12, 2012

    a beautiful and inspirational piece Lily! Many of you know I suffer from often debilitating sciatica due to a slipped disc and quite horrible endometriosis. But it is performers like you Lily, and Diva, that put it in perspective and encourage me to carry on and smile through the pain when it flares up at a show. You are an inspiration to other performers just by being who you are and doing what you do best – shaking that fine ass!! xx

  3. Mitzy bear
    June 12, 2012

    You are a trouper my love and an inspiration. x

  4. Lianne Vessier
    June 12, 2012

    Thank you Lilly x I myself have brittle bones disease,hyper mobile joints and sciatica to name a few things. I have days where I am completely flat out and full of opiates. But on other days I am booty shakin and going here there and everywhere. The key is not to give up& keep going

  5. Ally Katte
    June 12, 2012

    Lovely piece, sugar. I’m not physically disabled but have recently been battling severe depression which was manifesting itself very physically for some time. It interfered with my day job as well as dancing but battling on is very important.


  6. tash kingston
    June 19, 2012

    Lily you are amazing and an inspiration and i love you for that. i dont dance but have the same thing as you and uderstand what u go through day to day. thank you for writing this piece and letting people know what life is really like for people like us.

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This entry was posted on June 11, 2012 by in Coochie Crunch Blog and tagged , , .

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