Miss Viva Las Vegas Burlesque 2015
Tosca Rivola of California, USA
- Mathew Bowman
- Adam Kuehl Photography
- Clarence Alford Photography
- Peter Leal Photography
Moving from Prague to Los Angeles in 2010 to pursue a higher education in arts and advertising Tosca Rivola brings with her a multicultural background and an insatiable appetite for aesthetic and beauty. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts from USC's Roski School of Fine Arts and Design and a Minor in Communication Design from USC's Annenberg School of Communication, Tosca aims to galvanize advertising design with fine art. She spoke with Pearl Davies on her extensive training regeime, the application process of Viva Las Vegas (Burlesque) and how she felt being named Miss Viva Las Vegas 2015.
What was the application process to enter the Viva Las Vegas Burlesque competition?
The application process was quite simple. Contestants applied with a short questionnaire and submitted with it a video of the act they were hoping to present at the competition. The rest was a nail-biting waiting game.
What was the process in getting into the finals of VLV and how did you react when you found out..?
Receiving the news that I had made it into the finals was an extremely unexpected surprise. This was mainly due to the fact that I had been chosen by contestants’ popular vote. In a nutshell, this meant that each lady who applied, had to research her competition and pick their favorite. The dancer who received the most votes from the other applicants automatically made it to the finals - and in this manner I qualified for them. I was (and still am) pretty new to burlesque, and at the time didn’t really have a name for myself, so I was absolutely flabbergasted that I had been the other applicants’ first choice. This really brought me a lot of joy!
You perform with a Cyr Wheel, what is this and can you explain what your act is about and how you train?
My act is a fast-pace Cyr-Burlesque act to Electro-Swing. Although I love the slow and sultry traditional routines, I decided to opt for a racier song, especially because Cyr, by nature, is a fast-paced discipline. I very much enjoy that my track “Bad Boy Good Man” samples from vintage jazz but still has a contemporary feel. I love swing dance and I feel it mixes well with movements that I do in the Cyr wheel.
At first I just practiced acrobatics, and just recently became enchanted with burlesque. With routines that combine Cyr and Burlesque, I will often choreograph a basic structure that looks a lot like a gymnastics routine, and then add showy flare. And of course the timing and design of the costume needs to lend itself to quick, easy and calculated dismantling between tricks.
How were you feeling leading up to the performance?
It was sort of a disaster. It truly was a case of Murphy’s law - everything that could have gone wrong, did. My original stagehand that was part of my piece had to get foot surgery days before the show and couldn’t come with me. I frantically replaced him with a nice boy from my office two days before the show. I took the poor guy to the gym two midnights in a row to learn my entire routine, and then dragged the barely 21-year-old, new-to-LA youth to Sin City with me. During my tech rehearsal I was strongly advised to abandon my stagehand in order to make it true solo act - and so in Laymen’s terms - had to entirely cut him out of our perfectly rehearsed act. That tech rehearsal was two hours before the start of the actual show, and so the routine that won the title was essentially a real impromptu jig.
How did you feel once you were announced as Miss Viva Las Vegas..?
I was sure Madeline Sinclair was going to win; she was absolutely fabulous! But when I heard my name I just had to kick off my heels and shake it to the celebratory surf rock! I felt like bringing in the cirque element (Cyr Wheel) could have worked for or against me. In this case the audience liked it - thank heavens. I’ve never won anything like this before, and so I was absolutely giddy about the whole experience. What an honor and what a weekend!
Tosca Rivola is available for hire and can be reached via her site www.toscarivola.com
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