Survival of the fittest in a world of cut-throat competition brings out the best or the very worst in a person. Needless to say, one needs a certain maniacal degree of passion, courage and, most importantly, gumption to succeed. In a recent article, the habits of strong people, the trailblazers, one everybody looks up to in awe, were described as:
Pastel Supernova is one such very strong person. Toronto’s award-winning burlesque entertainer, choreographer and showgirl, Pastel is also the founder of Love Letters Cabaret, dubbed as “Toronto’s most exciting, edgy and sexually charged dance theatre company.”
It’s quite often presumed that performers and entertainers have it easy. After all, a song and a dance can’t be that challenging. Personally, I disagree. While public speaking came easy, performing in front of a protected environment of my high school made me want to cry, run away and hide — in exactly that order. Not only did I give up on high school theatre, but I refused to believe the little voice that always said:
“Believe in yourself and you will be unstoppable.”
As time goes by, I would like to believe I am not as timid as I was years ago; that I, too, possess a certain maniacal degree of passion, courage, and gumption. Well, here’s to that little voice, may we always hear it, follow it, honor it. Here’s to the tribe of Pastel Supernova teaching us every day that we, too, can be unstoppable.
Q1. Having trained in ballet, what were the major roadblocks, when transitioning to cabaret?
The switch, although unexpected was very organic. I was working as a contemporary dancer and through a performance art piece that evolved and grew popular, I ended up dancing for Nelly Furtado. I had started adopting the 50s pinup aesthetic and, eventually, the love for burlesque that is often attached to it. There were a few people who held judgment about my jumping into burlesque full-time, but I have never been the demure sort.
Each time I ran into a friend, who doubted me, I was forced to ask myself how much I really wanted to follow this path. All in all, it was a good test.
Q2. What’s it like to be a cabaret dancer? How strenuous are the daily training sessions?
Cabaret life is the Rock ‘n’ Roll version of a dancer’s life. It’s very physically demanding, requires daily rehearsals and cross training to stay strong, in addition to, late-night gigs, sky-high heels and a boozy beverage or two. I don’t restrict my diet at all, but I do have to visit massage therapists and chiropractors regularly.
One time I slapped the floor with my forehead during a show, but the audience didn’t notice so I rolled with it.
Later, I posted the footage on Instagram to show how I had casually swiped my forehead to feel for blood.
Q3. As a businesswoman and a professional dancer, how do you stay on top of things?
It’s a lot of work, but I love everything about it so I put in the time to make things happen. It’s up to me to keep myself focused and positive no matter what is going on in my personal life; that’s what professionalism is all about. Fortunately, I also have a supportive family as well as an enviable group of dancers I love and trust.
Q4. How did you decide on the name for your show persona, Pastel Supernova, and that of your company, Love Letters Cabaret?
The long version of why I changed my name celebrates my deep appreciation for what these words represent. Both the Creatrix and the supernova, simultaneously, embody life and death — supernova is a titanic explosion of a star in our universe, a black hole created upon exploding, believed to be a Big Bang somewhere else. The cabaret’s name refers to my first series of choreographic burlesque works that were love letters of sorts dedicated to my boyfriend at the time.
Q5. When meeting new people, what kind of reactions do you most often receive?
Most people are very excited and curious about my work and women often follow up with questions on where to take classes. There are many misconceptions about my profession because entertainers do everything in their power to flaunt extravagance and an easy life. We call it Smoke and Mirrors for a reason, but I will say a showgirl’s life is not for the faint of heart. This industry can be harsh and one is expected to deal with the good and bad alike wearing heels and a smile.
Born and raised in India, Anisha Dhiman moved to Toronto to study Publishing and then Lifestyle Media at Centennial College. Writer, social media strategist and content creator, Anisha is the founder of Five Question Series, where she profiles people… you guessed it, by asking five questions. In her free time, she enjoys reading and trolling people with puppy GIFs and memes. Her only phobia? Losing her sight, but staring at the screen all day long doesn’t help much.