Ditching the tutu pays off

Burlesque scene: Helen Grant aka Miss Bruise Violet.
Burlesque scene: Helen Grant aka Miss Bruise Violet.
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HELEN Grant was just six years old when she announced to her family she wanted to be a performer.

“I was a ballet dancer back then,” she says. “It’s a bit different to now.”

That’s because today Helen is fast making her name as one of the finest professional dancers on London’s fast-growing burlesque scene.

“But, believe it or not, it uses similar skills to ballet,” notes the 31-year-old from Stocksbridge.

Her on-stage success has meant giving up her day job managing a shop just to keep up with the growing number of bookings at cabaret clubs across the South East. And it seems it’s her northern humour and high energy routine which has impressed fans of the 1930s art form.

“It’s gone crazy,” says Helen, stage name Miss Bruise Violet. “I couldn’t fit work around my dancing any more so I took the plunge and went full time. Now I’m constantly on tour.”

She’s ticked off venues in London, Brighton, Leicester, Southampton and, um, Sutton Coldfield, as well as performing at The Lescar pub in Hunter’s Bar last month – her only home-town show so far.

“I definitely want to get up north again soon,” says the former Notre Dame High School pupil who now lives in London. “My parents want to come and see me.

“Do they mind I’m sometimes half-naked on stage? No. I was a teenage tearaway so this has been the least of their worries.”