Over its 25-year history, WA Performance School has grown from a small Subi-based studio to a well-oiled machine producing the stage performers of tomorrow. Run entirely by some of Perth’s best performers, it stands out from the rest as it provides a pathway for students to launch their stage careers through industry connections.
With decades of experience and teachers of Moulin Rouge and Fringe World cabaret fame, you can’t go past their expertise, especially in the realms of burlesque. We spoke to teachers Sylvia Sippl of Fringe’s Lady Velvet Cabaret and Moulin Rouge dancer Lauren Perrett to get a handle on their experience and what students can expect.
Teacher Lauren is a classically trained dancer who started her career at the tender age of 2, and by 12 years old, had progressed to full-time dance at the Charlesworth Ballet Institute. With training in ballet, pas de deux, contemporary, Spanish, composition, choreography and drama, Lauren is a jack of all trades. Her local successes led her to score a spot at Rambert School of Ballet & Contemporary Dance in London, the Akademie des Tanzes Mannheim in Germany, and the Geneva Dance Centre in Switzerland.
It was her successful audition for the famous Moulin Rouge, however, that really excited her, and she spent the next two and a half years in Paris performing in over 1,000 shows. More recently, Lauren scored the role of Principal Dancer for Cabaret de Paris at Crown Theatre.
She says her crowning achievements were performing the famous Cancan duo for the likes of Celine Dion and Cara Delevigne, and participating in the 130th anniversary of both the Eiffel Tower and Moulin Rouge.
Sylvia, on the other hand, is a larger than life personality who performs under her own name or Cabaret name, ‘Lucinda Panties’ as part of the Perth-based troupe Lady Velvet Cabaret.
Over her 15-year career, Sylvia has self-produced solo shows including ‘I Owe My Parents $65,000’, ‘An Absolute Idiot’s Guide to Art’ and ‘Lucinda Panties’ Super Funtimes Singalong Jamboree’, which earned her a Fringe World Weekly Award in 2020. So, how did Sylvia end up running the WA Performance School?
“I hosted a show for Lady Velvet Cabaret and their director Stella Hui booked me for subsequent events including the 2012 Fringe World festival. I began teaching at the studio, setting up a piano program as well as teaching music and drama. That was in 2012 and I am now the full-time studio manager,” laughed Sylvia.
Since then, Lady Velvet Cabaret and WA Performance School talent have joined forces to offer ballet, hip hop, modern jazz, cheerleading, burlesque, acro dance, drama, tap dance, musical theatre, contemporary, showgirl, piano, stretch & flexibility, singing, performance and competition troupes and more.
Stella, WAPS director and winner of the 2016 Optus MyBusiness Australian Businesswoman of the Year, is a superwoman of the entertainment business, having established both Lady Velvet Cabaret & Azure Entertainment in 2009. For the past 11 years, her companies have provided corporate entertainment, empowering burlesque classes for adults, and hens parties for clients all over WA.
For anyone interested, WAPS take on students of all ages and ability levels, with most the adult classes on after-hours. For a full timetable, see here.