TODAY |

Chris Oh! - the Kiwi burlesque performer whose discovery of dance helped save his life

A Kiwi burlesque dancer who's enthralling audiences overseas is back in New Zealand to headline this month's Splore Festival.

Chris Oh! moved to New Zealand from South Africa as a teenager and identifies as a Kiwi.

He's back in the country after recently being judged Most Dazzling Performer at the Las Vegas Burlesque Hall of Fame.

But he didn't step foot in a dance class until the age of 22, where he discovered he was good at moving his body.

"I found that I had a love of movement," he told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp.

"I decided I wanted to be a dancer. I wanted to move my body, be able to tell stories with movement. Now what I do is burlesque. I do the male counterpart which is 'boylesque'.

"My characters are generally gender blurred, blending that line. 'What is male? What is female?'"

Chris told Seven Sharp dancing has offered him an amazing life, a life he may not have had.

"My early teens were the hardest for me. I became suicidal. It was from those experiences I saw a brighter more hopeful side of myself and I realised I wanted to fight for at least a chance to be happy".

He says he's "so happy right now".

Where to get help:

Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.
Lifeline: 0800 543 354
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7)
Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7)
Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)
Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email talk@youthline.co.nz
What's Up: online chat (7pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 children's helpline (1pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-10pm weekends)
Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)
Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254
Healthline: 0800 611 116
Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
Safe to talk National Sexual Harm Helpline - 0800 044 334, www.safetotalk.nz
Victim Support National 24 Hour Helpline 0800 842 846, www.victimsupport.org.nz
Rape Crisis National 24 Hour Helpline 0800 883300
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.


Your playlist will load after this ad

Chris Oh! was judged Most Dazzling Performer at the Las Vegas Burlesque Hall of Fame. Source: Seven Sharp