Undine LaVerve is known as the Sin-Sational Siren of the Mediterranean calling the island of Malta her home. She has been performing for over 10 years, taking her acts around the world as Malta’s Burlesque Pioneer. Her style of Burlesque is classical with an alternative twist, Undine also works as an alternative model, actress and presenter. She started the Burlesque movement on the island of Malta, created the Burlesque Academy of Malta (BAM) and has won several awards.
Undine grew up between two countries – London and Moscow, traveling throughout Europe with her parents for most of her childhood. This exposed her to a lot of different cultures, customs and activities, wherever they moved, she attended music, acing, singing, drawing and dance classes. With her mother they attended classical concerts, operas, musicals, museums and galleries. She spent her childhood soaking up the art and culture of many different countries. The family started visiting Malta in 1998, spending the summers on the island. At the age of twelve they moved to Malta for good.
She has two brothers from her parents’ previous marriages, they are both much older than Undine. While she moved around with her parents, her brothers’ attended college and started leading their own lives in countries of their choosing. Her eldest brother was a metal-head and a biker when she was growing up, she credits him with introducing her to many core goth aesthetics.
He would listen to metal and rock and I loved his style – leather and long hair, I looked up to him a lot and still do, even though he has become a lot more conservative but only looks wise. So, I owe a lot of my goth roots to him. My other brother is a very conservative marketing manager in a big company, has a family and is supportive from afar. —Undine LaVerve
The Making of a Burlesque Star
Undine’s early years were always filled with the arts, with access to theater, dance, music and everything needed for her creative development. She wanted to be a dancer but never thought she could be one as she wasn’t tall or slim enough to do ballet and wasn’t accepted into a famous ballet school in Moscow. In Malta, when she was 16 years old, she started trying out different types of dance – belly dancing, hip-hop, jazz, contemporary and even exotic dance. But nothing gave her the feeling of completeness that she was looking for, until she heard of a Canadian performer who was in Malta giving Burlesque classes, she was 17. She went to a class, then two classes and finally something clicked – she found what she had been looking for. Soon Liv Yorsten, known as Pyra Teknix became her mentor and worked privately with her. Undine immediately fell in love with Burlesque, but her mentor soon moved away from Malta, this left her to figure out a lot of burlesque elements on her own. She credits her mentor with giving her the essential basics of the art.
Undine’s first ever show was on February the 27th in 2010 as part of a student showcase her mentor organized for their group. She participated in this show as a group act with the rest of her class. Her first solo show was later that year, her act was to Peggy Lee’s “Fever”.
At the age of 19 she went to New York to watch shows and develop her personal character; she found the American burlesque scene and its performances to be a mix of true art and raw sensuality. Becoming so impressed by the beautiful NYC burlesque scene, she drew inspiration from what she saw there, and to this day her style of burlesque is still very much influenced by the scene.
When she returned from New York in 2011 she began doing shows here and there to get some experience. She performed at a few gigs in the Maltese Metal scene as she has been part of the alternative scene in Malta since she was 14. That led her to create alternative acts to her all-time favorite band Type O Negative, to Belphegor, to Korn and other bands. She was an official member of the Malta Death Fest crew and performed with bands such as Carnal Decay and Viscera Trail. She was invited to do a few shows, but the crowd had no idea what Burlesque was as she is Malta’s first ever performer (apart from her mentor who was there for a short time). These shows oftentimes did not go over well with the crowd due to confusion and lack of knowledge regarding the art. She started doing some hens nights which were a fun and safe place for her to work on the art and learn how to teach, by giving workshops.
- In November 2012, she began to focus on performing internationally, she performed in Amsterdam at a show called “Burlesque FreakOut” which got the ball rolling.
- In 2013, she went to Paris and performed shows there, then moved to Russia for a few months and worked with a troupe. She competed in the Burlesque Festival in Moscow (Miss Burlesque Russia), at this time Undine began making contacts and getting invited to perform in different festivals and events around Europe.
- In late 2014, she realized that she wanted to do shows in Malta and bring Burlesque to her home.
- In January 2015, she produced her first local event (Burlesque A laVerve) and it lasted for 5 months – the show included burlesque, a variety of events that featured her, several Maltese variety acts and a foreign guest.
Then I had a bit of a crisis in late 2015/2016 involving an abusive relationship and such, I was finishing my degree in Musical Theater at the time, which I graduated in 2016 from Masquerade school of the Performing Arts in Malta with Trinity College UK in “Musical Theater” and “Performance and Production”. I stopped performing for 6 months and then got out and immediately started producing more, with more vigour and zest, understanding that I will never let anyone, or anything stand in my way. —Undine LaVerve
- In October 2016, she started a monthly show called “La Rouge” at ELP, Malta, which will go into its 4th season September 2019.
- In November 2016, Undine performed her first Theater show “MalTease” which got great reviews in The Times of Malta and got her the credibility needed to put Burlesque on the cultural map in Malta.
- In 2016, BAM was revived, the Burlesque Academy of Malta, although she started teaching burlesque back in 2015. Undine decided to teach seriously after returning to the art and used the name created by her mentor when she was teaching on the island.
Go to the current news tab for more on Undine…
Undine’s focus in 2019 has been to branch out into new projects – more acting, blogging, Youtube and has written a new song! Together with one of Malta’s top DJs – DJ Mykill, they have written a song – the music and lyrics were a joint effort and it will be released in a matter of weeks. The song is called “Silicone Soul”… video and song coming soon!
- Undine spent 2 months acting in Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure”
- Performed at the annual Steve Hili’s “Adult Panto”
- Performed media duties for Malta Fashion Week – (blog on https://undinelaverve.com/blog/)
- In September, her monthly shows begin again
- In October – November, she will be touring Germany – Munich for the Bavarian Burlesque Festival, Berlin & Hamburg for Halloween shows
- November (second week), the third edition of the MalTease show begins
The Sailor: This act is her most booked and best known. It’s a very cute vintage act where she plays a Sailor’s girl who is waiting for her sailor boy to return. She begins to slowly undress in a very playful and cheeky way and then use veil fans to represent her favorite element – water! An energetic veil fan dance ensues representing the turbulent and free waters of the ocean!
“Sailor Girl, a classic number that showed off the dancer’s playful nature to best effect, with fast-paced choreography and contortions aplenty…” -Times of Malta Review
Lavender Dream: Lavender Dream is Undine’s award-winning Classical Burlesque act with an alternative twist, edgy feel and a touch of Parisian chic. The routine starts with strong bump n’ grind moves and flirty glove peels to a Burlesque classics tune, which adds a sultry nature to the act. It is reminiscent of the bumping divas of the 40’s.
As the act progresses, the music changes to a modern rock tune and that’s when the floor-work comes in, the shimmy shakes and the pure tease, always with a cheeky and fun feels, that is maintained throughout the act. Undine teases the audience to the very last second with confidence, oozing sensuality and the final reveal is welcomed with cheers at the top of anticipation from the patrons! Undine LaVerve won the BurlyPicks Italy regional competition in Milan with Lavender Dream in 2014.
“Lavender Dream is my favourite act to perform, it’s very sexy and makes me feel powerful, strong, sensual, it’s my expression of ultimate feminine power!” -Undine LaVerve
Danger Girl: Is named after the song that the routine starts with – Betty Page “Danger Girl”. The song has a mysterious feel, Undine comes out in a beautiful green mermaid style gown, a hat and a boa, all in emerald and dark green. The song that follows is an energetic and punchy swing metal tune, and so are the moves that follow! Glove peels, floor-work and stocking peels with splits and bendy moves.
The climax of the act is the reveal and the consecutive quick tassel twirling to heavy metal beats after some feather boa tease action! An act loved by metal fans and non-metal lovers alike! A different and fresh approach to Classical Burlesque!
Danger Girl won the People’s Choice Award – “Queen of Applause” in “Miss Burlesque Russia” Burlesque Competition in 2014 in Moscow, fresh off the act’s conception!
“Danger Girl is where my two great passions in life meet – Burlesque and Metal! This act is a bit of both! The beginning is quite mysterious, all that is obvious is that the act has a classical burlesque feel and dress, but once the music changes, it gets intense and the metal part of the act starts, which I love. The act ends with the most intense tassel twirling in my whole repertoire!” -Undine LaVerve
Diamonds: Diamonds are a girl’s best friend – iconic tune, iconic saying, iconic imagery! By far, Undine LaVerve’s most Opulent act yet is “Diamonds” – dripping in white pearls and rhinestones, white feathers aplenty! This act is the epitome of showgirl – feather headdress, rhinestone clad corset, each costume piece decorated to sparkle, and big tribute feather fans are an incredible finale to this tasteful, cheeky tease of an act… or maybe, act of a tease?!
“Diamonds came about because I had bits of costume that inspired me to create an act that is as classical as possible without being banal! It’s beautiful, has lots of rhinestones ad feathers! I love it because it’s fun and light and fabulous, perfect for big stages, as well as small.” -Undine LaVerve
Dark Ritual: Is Undine’s dark fantasy – paying a tribute to Undine’s favorite band Type O Negative, this act is performed to their infamous “Black N1” and portrays a horned devil in chiffon and latex, who undressed, then proceeds to balance a chalice of blood of her head and later pours the blood onto her body in a sexy, dark ritual to the Lord of the Underworld and of course, in memory of Peter Steele.
This act has traveled and seen many stages, but it is particularly popular around Halloween times and for metal events. Undine performs with metal bands and often uses the Dark Ritual look for such shows,
“Dark Ritual is my tribute to Type O Negative, my absolute favorite band! I love performing this act because it’s dark, creepy, very sensual and quite slow. Sexually charged and demonic. I come out in a veil and slowly undress as I dance, in the end I crawl towards a glass that represents blood and pour it on myself! Dark Ritual is my dark fantasy – a devilish slow burn alternative burlesque act, which is truly a sinful seduction straight out of hell.” -Undine LaVerve
Golden Glitter: Premiered in 2016 in Amsterdam, it was the first act to feature Gold in Undine’s repertoire! This is an act that gives 1920’s / flapper / Charleston vibes. it’s a fun and flirty act. The first half of the act is quite fast-paced and very dancey, while the second part of the act is sultrier and slower.
“It’s a lot of fun to perform! The ending of the act is the most fun – the final reveal and voila – out comes the glitter bottle and a mix of glitter and confetti cascade down and all over my body!” -Undine LaVerve
Marie Antoinette: For this act Undine LaVerve, come out as if going to a masquerade, but having unmasqued, she is the infamous lady Marie Antoinette. She picks her victim from the crowd and invites him (because let’s face it, Marie Antoinette would probably choose a man…or would she?) to join her for tea. But…me oh my, we have a bare table… not an issue, Undine cleverly uses her attire to set the table.
“Marie Antoinette is a great figure; this act was somewhat of a gag act that became part of my repertoire! My friends from the Gothic Lolita band “Lolita Komplex” saw one of my shows where I was performing this act and invited me to perform it in Vienna at their festival as part of my European tour in 2015. It was a great experience taking this act abroad. I don’t often perform it, but I always have fun when I do. The fun bit about this act is that my attire is what I use to set the table! Everything that is needed is on me!” 😉 -Undine LaVerve
MalTease: Is Undine’s annual theater show! This show is held at St James Cavalier, also known as Spazju Kreattiv, a center for art and creativity in a beautiful 16th century converted fort in the heart of Valletta, the capital city of Malta. The show is a mix of local variety acts and a number of international burlesque stars. The now acclaimed show runs for a weekend once every 18 months. Previous shows were held on November 2016, and April 2018, November 2019 is the next and 3rd edition of this show.
“This year we have another exceptional cast of brilliant performers coming to Malta to grace our stage and wow the audience!” -Undine LaVerve
Burlesque Academy of Malta (BAM): Tell me more about the academy, how it got started and what you have accomplished since starting it?
BAM – Burlesque Academy of Malta was a name that my mentor had come up with when she started giving classes in Malta. After she had left the island, I was finding my way and obviously it took a few years until I got enough experience to actually start teaching. I began giving workshops and lessons in 2015 but BAM really took off around late 2016. Now I run weekly classes of different levels, I have multiple students – some study for themselves, others want to perform, I have both boys and girl, all ages and genders are welcome, all body types, all levels of experience. It’s about feeling good and getting in touch with yourself, sometimes even literally – by running our hands up and down our bodies, looking at it, feeling and loving it. BAM is not just about dancing or teaching choreography, BAM is about helping my students find their passion, about helping their creativity flow, helping them feel confident and comfortable. I’ve had my students recount their experiences, how it has been life changing or changed their perception. And that honestly is the best thing, it brings me such joy knowing that I have shown someone something valuable, so valuable that it translates into their everyday life, making it better. We do a lot of exercises where we push ourselves out of our comfort zone sometimes but it’s ok since it is a safe space and all the students of the academy have good rapport with each other. I have taken on a few of my student’s how have become my “mentees” and I see them becoming little burlesque starlets in the future. I help those who want to perform come up with acts – choreography, costuming and give them performance opportunities. It’s a job and a half but I love it. My students are my legacy and I can’t wait to see what they can achieve!
Notable Performance, Festivals & Events:
Burlesque FreakOut, Amsterdam 2012.
Pretty Propaganda, Paris 2013.
Miss Burlesque Russia, 2013 AND 2014. (WON Award)
Amsterdam Fringe Festival, 2013
Munich Burlesque Festival, 2014 AND 2015
Amsterdam Burlesque Weekend, 2014
Burlypick Italy regional competition. 2014 (WINNER)
Italy Queen Burlesque, 2014 AND 2015. (WON Award)
Caput Mundi Burlesque Award, Rome 2014.
Como Lake Burlesque Festival, Como 2015 and 2018
Gothic Lolita and Dandy Festival, Vienna 2015.
European tour, October 2015 – Rome, Vienna, Paris, Berlin and Hamburg.
Home of Burlesque (Queen Calavera), Hamburg 2015, 2016 AND 2017.
New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam for Madame Risquee events, 2015 and 2016.
MalTease 2016, 2018 – (our acclaimed 3 days event at the theater at St James Cavalier)
Headliner at the Croatia Burlesque and Cabaret festival in May 2017
Taormina Burlesque Festival, Sicily, 2018
Milan 2014 – Winner of BurlyPicks Italy regional Competition
Russia 2014 – Queen of Applause – people’s choice award at Miss Burlesque
Italy 2015 – People’s choice and special Jury Award in Italy Queen Burlesque Festival
Thank you from Goth Wiki!
I have a deep and lasting respect for the art of Burlesque, since attending my first show year ago. I got to meet Dita Von Teese and she performed her famous Champagne glass act. So, Burlesque has always been one of the subjects I wanted to add to the Goth Wiki. I did a bit of research on Undine LaVerve and I was struck by all she has accomplished in just 10 years in the industry. I could not believe that I was unable to find any online wiki type entries for her. I found many interviews, but this young lady had a story to tell that a simple interview would not cover.
I reached out to Undine and discussed with her that Goth Wiki would be going live with a Burlesque wiki entry in a couple of weeks. And I wanted to feature her as our first Burlesque Star with an interview and full wiki entry included.
Goth Wiki would like to thank Undine LaVerve for working with us to create this wonderful entry. Your story has depth, heart, passion, pain, fire, love and achievement infused in it. The nights chatting have been a pleasure keep up the good work Miss Undine LaVerve!
View Undine’s Interview by clicking the link below.
- This article was created with assistance from Undine LaVerve regarding facts, dates, history, links.
- See Undine LaVerve’s Goth Wiki Interview at: http://gothwiki.com/undine-laverve-interview/
- Undine LaVerve’s Official Website: Was used for additional information. https://undinelaverve.com/
- All images: Provided by Undine LaVerve, find credit information below.
ScheiMedia – (Cover Image & Pink Boa Image)