The Wonder That is Marcy Richardson

Photo by Mark Shelby Perry

Like most people I know, I’ve always had some lofty, highly unlikely, fantasy goals for myself. For some people it’s becoming an astronaut, for others it’s opening a bar on a tropical beach somewhere, and for me it’s having enough smolder and confidence to be a burlesque dancer. Although Marcy Richardson is much more than that, she embodies that fearlessness that comes with the ability to enchant a room by singing, flying on a lyra, or contorting herself around a pole.

There’s really nothing performance-wise this woman can’t do. She started as a dancer and theater actress when she was young, and has since gone on to sing opera and dance burlesque on some of the most prestigious stages in the world. She is originally from Grosse Pointe, MI, and now lives in New York City with her husband and adorable dog Watson (who you can follow on Instagram right here).

When asked how NYC has shaped her creative process, Marcy replied,

“I feel like I'm my best, most creative, and most high energy self in New York. Just to run a simple errand, most of us have to step outside and walk a mile in the elements-you're not sitting in a car all the time. My blood is always pumping just getting from place to place, and I'm surrounded by diversity everywhere I go. It's very stimulating and I feed off the energy in the city. It motivates me to create and practice all the time. There are also so many amazing resources in New York. I have access to excellent pole and aerial training, and the best vocal coaches and teachers are at my fingertips. If I'm inspired to build a new costume, the garment district is a short train ride away. There are photographers, artists, musicians, composers, all right here wanting to create too-I'm surrounded by like minded artists, especially in Company XIV. Everything I need to flex my creative muscle is all right here in the city.”

Is there an aspect of what you do that you enjoy most? (opera/lyra/pole)

“They're all so different. Singing is obviously my first love, and adding pole and aerial to it when called to do so has only improved my singing and how in touch I am with my body and breath support. Lyra really feels like flying. It's gratifying and fun even just sitting inside it when it's spinning. I love to pole dance but I would say it's the most stressful. Lots of people wonder why I'm sitting on the pole 10 minutes before the show-ideally the temperature of the metal and my skin should be warm for optimal "sticking" to the pole. On top of that, I coat the pole and parts of my body in liquid chalk, to combat condensation from the fog machines and any humidity in the room from outside or lots of bodies in the house. There's just a lot of "business" I have to take care of to make sure the equipment and myself are all set up for success and ready to go. The physical exertion that comes with pole, whether I'm singing on it or just dancing, is also the most intense. There aren't any moments where you are ever "resting" on the pole.”

What are your ultimate career goals? Are you where you want to be right now?

“I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing. I love performing in New York and traveling for gigs from time to time. I am not interested in touring. It would be amazing to do a contract for a year in some place fabulous, like Paris or Spain or Vienna, as long as I could bring my husband and my dog.”

Who are your biggest inspirations for each specialty?

“I don't look to other performers so much for inspiration. I of course always ooh and ahh at pole dancers and aerialists who are contortion flexible, but that's not in my wheelhouse, so I really just admire from afar. I get most of my inspiration from my teachers, who give me the tools to create what works best in my body. I document everything I learn from them and keep a "library" of sorts of everything I've learned. My teachers are definitely my greatest source of inspiration.”

What has been your most gratifying/memorable performance?

“It's hard to single any one performance out because consistency is really the name of my game. I'm kind of like a machine in that I make it my goal to execute every show in the same way, whether it's opening or closing, whether or not critics are there or if the audience is loud or quiet. I will say my dad, who is 70, came to nutcracker twice this year, and i will always remember looking at him and my family from upside down in the Lyra in the front row as the glitter started falling and thinking how lucky and happy I was in that moment.”

Marcy is a vision you have to see for yourself to believe. To someone (me) who can’t do yoga for more than 30 minutes without feeling faint, real shock value comes from watching a woman haul her entire body over her head into a graceful pole routine while singing beautiful operatic covers of pop songs. Not to mention the fact that her costume often consists of blinged out heels and a corset. Marcy has exuded power and enchantment on every stage on which I’ve seen her, and is always the recipient of an appropriately large amount of gasps and very impressed expletives. Alas, the Company XIV season is coming to a close, but I highly encourage everyone who needs their fix of music, dance, acrobatics, burlesque, or just a scandalous night out to stay tuned to their sites to hear about Marcy Richardson’s and Company XIV’s next shows.

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