Corrina Llopart is an eclectic person, one who participates in a variety of activities of interest, seldom has free time and doesn't experience boredom.
"My past and present life is full and busy," said Llopart during a recent interview. "I teach dance classes, direct and produce a burlesque troupe and work at two part-time jobs. I've also participated in roller derby," she added.
Five years ago, Llopart first heard about an adult dance class that required no previous dance experience. As a self-taught dancer, she wanted to join a class for fun and experience feeling comfortable as a woman.
The rollerblading team member who introduced the class to Llopart defined the activity as "no pressure," so Llopart decided to attend. "I showed up, and a photo shoot was occurring. Amber Vasquez, the director at Taos Youth Ballet, taught the class. I was placed into the photo shoot, and I felt very welcomed. I kept going back," she explained.
Llopart never knew about burlesque; she joined the class for enjoyment and never regretted her decision. After a year and a half, Llopart began to teach classes.
Two and a half years ago, Llopart added another role to her burlesque dance activity. In addition to hosting two classes a week Saturdays at noon and Mondays at 7:30 p.m., she produces and directs the burlesque troupe Coco's Hen House. The shows offer a variety of entertainment: dancing, aerial activity and singing.
The troupe performs two shows per year at the Taos Mesa Brewery, which, Llopart said, "has the best stage in town and... we're treated well." In collaboration with others, the troupe performs a short set during the Taos Pride Festival and assists with Taos Pride fundraisers.
Llopart uses the stage name Ms. Coco Blu. Her Facebook page is Coco's Hen House and her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Corrina's classes occur at High Frequency Loft located at 1335 Gusdorf Suite Q. Llopart makes her own costumes for the shows when necessary and occasionally performs with various troupes in other areas, such as Pagosa Springs, Durango and Santa Fe.
"Burlesque goes back into history," she said. "We try to bring some tradition into the shows. There is currently a controversy about this type of entertainment. Some people think a burlesque dancer is a stripper. Some of the troupe members see themselves more as performers and stress the variety as a big part of the show. Both viewpoints are valid, and I'm okay with that. I myself can definitely be considered as a stripper not performing in a strip club," said Llopart.
The troupe members represent all walks of life and range from 20 to 70 years of age. Troupe director and producer Llopart views the burlesque activity as "empowering women to find a means of being more comfortable with themselves and taking their power back." Her point of view connects with the contemporary concerns of the treatment of women.
The history of burlesque includes early beginnings in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. Wikipedia describes burlesque as "a literary, dramatic or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects. The word derives from the Italian 'burlesco,' which in turn is derived from the Italian 'burla'- a joke, ridicule or mockery."
In the United States, performances include a variety show format of songs, comic sketches, acrobats, magicians, singers and dancers. Gradually striptease entered the minstrel-type shows made famous by the likes of Gypsy Rose Lee and movies in the 1930s. Some of the comedians who appeared in burlesque early in their careers included Danny Thomas, Danny Kaye and Abbott and Costello, according to a Wikipedia article.
Llopart's roller derby days remain a pleasant memory. "I'm glad I did it, and it's something I don't have to do now" she laughed. Kruddy C, (her derby name) served as one of the jammers for four years. As a member of the Taos Whiplashes, she joined the team at in-town bouts at the Youth and Family Center and at out-of-town bouts in Las Cruces, Albuquerque, Los Alamos and parts of southern Colorado.
"I joined many good friends through that activity including Knotty Dotty, my best friend on the team, also known as my 'derby wife.' I also befriended the Kaeck family through roller derby involvement," she said. "Every once in a while, my knee twitches as a result of this activity."
The burlesque producer originally hails from Lawrence, Kansas. She moved to Taos 6 1/2 years ago during a previous relationship. She cited the wonderful support of her father David Llopart of McLean, Virginia. "I love him. He doesn't judge his daughter," she said.
In addition to a full-time burlesque job, Llopart does the Taos Shuffle, meaning she works multiple jobs. She works part-time for Rocky Mountain Youth Corp's Substance Abuse Program. Her other part-time work includes bartending and waitressing at the Alley Cantina.
Rare spare time enjoyment includes watching comic book stories on Netflix and walking her aging beagles Copper and Lana, aged 11 and 12. Llopart reads Sherlock Holmes books and watches "Elementary" on television. Vegetarian pizza remains the best in eating as far as Llopart is concerned.
As a vegetarian for 14 years, Corrina remains pleased with the many restaurant options available for vegetarians in Taos. She feels that Taos is the most supportive community for vegetarians that she's been in.
An eclectic life remains possible with a supportive community. "I'm lucky to be surrounded by like-minded, understanding people. Most fortunately I have the opportunity to enjoy the variety of life here in Taos," Llopart said.