‘My heart belongs to (Richard) Branson’ entrepreneur set to shimmy to burlesque world record in Clapham

Showgirls and dancers across the capital are being urged to join a Guinness World Record attempt to perform the biggest ever burlesque performance at the Clapham Grand in time for next Valentine’s day.

Entrepreneur Priscilla Silcock, founder of Sapphira’s Showgirls, is organising the record-breaking attempt and aims to have 300 empowered burlesque beauties performing on February 13 next year as a tribute to Richard Branson.

Ms Silcock, known by her stage name Sapphira, wants to empower women through self-expression and motive them to succeed.

She is inspired by her idol Richard Branson, who was recently ranked the UK’s top entrepreneurs with Victoria Beckham hot on his heels, and has named her Valentine’s dance campaign My heart Belong to Branson after him.

Sapphira, 38, said: “I was inspired to reach out to Sir Richard Branson because Virgin Atlantic had painted the Queen of Burlesque, Dita Von Teese, on the side of a plane.

“I set out wanting to help women with body issues and those suffering from depression, I want them to know there is light on the other side of the tunnel.

“I chose the stage name Sapphira because she was an intriguing character in the bible and the name was beautiful and exotic.”

Sapphira founded her dance academy after recovering from a severe mental illness, she wants to share the positivity and healing power of dance and music with women of all shapes and sizes.

The Valentine’s performance will be supported by Benefit Cosmetics, their make-up artists will available at the venue to ensure that participants have the perfect pout for the kissing contest that will also take place.

Burlesque has had a resurgence in recent years, art form of suggestive and humorous dancing has become popular in the cabaret circuit.

“I had a very rigid Christian upbringing and the theatrical elements in burlesque helped me to explore my sensuality in a playful way,” said Sapphire.

“Burlesque as an art form is a safe place that invites you to be dramatic and think about yourself as a different person, the lighting, the costume and the stage all add to the heighted sense of platform. There is an element of risqué and taboo.

“The second I put on my make-up and fake lashes, Sapphira begins but there are certainly elements of my own personality in her.”

Sapphira has a friendly relationship with Sir Richard after reaching out to him in 2013 with her first My Heart Belongs to Branson burlesquathon with 77 dancers, cheekily asking the multimillionaire if he would fund her troupe’s tour.

He said he was ‘delighted’ with her efforts and gave her Australian burlesque group discounted Virgin Atlantic flights allowing them to perform in London for their ‘Burlesque or Bust’ tour.

Featured picture courtesy of BeckonMedia, with thanks

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