Jo Weldon, aka Jo Boobs, is pioneer in the neo-burlesque movement, a strip joint stripper since 1980 who became a touring feature dancer and fetish performer, then joined the New York Burlesque community in the 1990s. Since then, she has toured the world as a burlesque performer, rounding her heels on stages from Coney Island to Sydney Harbor. She has appeared on the list of 21st Century Burlesque's Top 50 Burlesque Industry Figures every year for ten years. She founded and has been running the New York School of Burlesque since 2004, and is the author of The Burlesque Handbook, the first book ever published on how to create classic and neo burlesque routines. She has produced six burlesque instructional video programs with World Dance New York, is a founding member and Vice-President of BurlyCon, and co-executive Director of Education at The Burlesque Hall of Fame. She believes in burlesque as a means to introduce those who are shy about their bodies to enjoy the power of playful and/or confrontational exhibitionism, as well as creativity and self-expression through self-initiated theatrical performance. She has been an influential sex workers' rights advocate for over two decades. Her newest book, FIERCE: The History of Leopard Print, is available as of June 2018.
Mama Jojo has had an extraordinary career; working in London's cabaret clubs in the 1970s as a burlesque striptease artiste, she has continued perfecting her craft by entertaining audiences throughout the UK, Europe and the U.S. for more than 40 years.In 2000 she formed the London School of Striptease and the London Academy of Burlesque (the very first schools in the world to teach courses in burlesque dance, pole-dancing and striptease) in order to share her knowledge and skills with whoever wanted to learn. She wanted her students to feel fabulous about themselves regardless of age, size, gender, or ability and has always been insistent that her work should be inclusive. She and her team of teachers have taught thousands of people these life-altering art-forms, helping them to gain confidence, improve their body-image, feel sexy, express their sensuality through movement, and explore their creativity.A staunch advocate for striptease being recognised for the exceptional artistry it involves, Jo has spent years fighting against the snobbery and/or ignorance that often exists among people who think that burlesque performers are somehow superior to strippers. Jo says “Burlesque came first, so, in fact, burlesque gave birth to striptease, therefore I imagine that burlesque is very proud of its liberated offspring!”Considered an expert in her field, Jo is frequently called upon to give her candid views in the press, on radio and TV shows. She is also often hired as a consultant to teach and choreograph actresses and dancers for film, television and stage work. Actress Jamie Murray, writer/presenter Dawn O'Porter, singer/actress Javine Hylton, and top model/actress Agyness Deyn, have all benefited from Jo’s inimitable choreographic skills and artistic direction.In 2008 “Goodtime Mama Jojo” was invited to perform at the Burlesque Hall of Fame’s annual “Legend's Showcase” in Las Vegas, where she was recognised as a burlesque legend. To date, she is the first and only British performer to have received this distinguished honour. She also received a Sexual Freedom Award for “Lifetime Achievement” in 2010, and she was the winner of the “Unsung Hero “ category at the London Cabaret Awards 2014 in recognition of her innovative and inspirational contribution to the cabaret industry.The key to her longevity in the industry is her infectious enthusiasm and passion for her work.