This months ‘Wednesday Wonder Woman’ is the lovely, Sassy Sam Van Kempen. Perfect timing as the brochure for this years Edinburgh Fringe is out today, and tickets on sale for her 2019 show ‘Absolute Burlesque ‘ (appearance in which will make up my August ‘Year of no Fear’ challenge!)

Sam Van Kempen, aka ‘Sassy Von Sparkle’ What can I say! So many adjectives: Boss lady, choreographer, dancer, producer of sell out shows and workshops, teacher, mentor, mother of 4, accountant, business woman….the list is truly insane. It’s baffling to try and think how she fits it all in?! What’s even harder for me to work out is how she managed to convince me to get up on stage to perform in front of 230 odd people in her recent sell out Burlesque showcase-and without even actively trying to convince me?!

I’ve done many a fitness/dance/dance innspired fitness classes before- and I thought joining Sassy School of Burlesque would be a similar experience. I previously did both pole and lap dancing inspired classes in an attempt to build confidence, but although they were enjoyable I found I just couldn’t really get ‘into’ them enough to keep up long term. I often felt there was a divide in different ability levels, cliques and at times quite intimidating, although trying to be nice, judge-y instructors.

However, at Sam’s school you not only find a fitness class- with abundant opportunities to develop and perform thrown in- you also find an absolute tribe of empowered, supportive and inspiring women. All headed up by Sam and her team, all ready with encouragement, enthusasim and admiration for one another, rather than the all to common competiviness, jealousy and pettiness that often derails the ‘women supporting women’ train.

A huge part of the reason for this is that this is the behaviour modelled by Sam, and her long serving team members/instructors. When I was musing backstage at the showcase, trying to puzzle out how my journey from hiding, not wanting to be seen and at times barely leaving the house had somehow brought me there-about to go on stage in my pants?!-I had an epiphany on Sam’s magic super power.

Authenticity. She believes everything she puts out there, it’s not just empty words to get your buy in. The ‘genuine’ and down to earth is something which is palpable. You can feel her enthusasim for other peoples wins, and her personal inspiring self confidence.

Most importantly for her students and dancers, she believes in THEM- and that is key. She never once pressured me to do the showcase- just made it seem exciting. She never made suggestions on my routine, outfit or abilities?! It all just seemed like it wasn’t that big of a deal-she wasn’t worried about my ability to show up for her, which in turn made me more relaxed, excited and determined not to let her down!

So now we boldly go on to a solo performance at the Fringe! And I feel nothing but huge excitement for rehearsals this weekend- seeing everyone’s routines and costumes, showing mine to them, the high likelyhood of amazing cake…so much to look forward to even before the festival itself!

Thanks to Sam, and everyone at šŸ’—

Long may the journey continue! In the meantime, get yourselves along to a show- follow the link below for Augusts Absolute Burlesque run šŸ’—