She brings snakes and ancient dance to the national stage, but Lorna Beaumont’s ultimate hideaway is her private Piccadilly sanctum.
If you were to drive down a particular quiet street in Piccadilly, you would pass a modest 1980s-era home – and would never guess that inside are rooms filled with lavish beaded costumes, tanks full of Australian native pythons and a blonde seductress dancing with enormous Egyptian goddess wings of gold.
This is the secret sanctuary of Lorna Beaumont, better known as serpent dancer Flavella L’Amour; a secluded haven for dreaming, dancing, creating and connecting with ancient mystical energies. “When I first came here I just felt so safe,” says Lorna, who moved into her partner Edward’s house eight years ago. “It was like the Bat Cave. No one knew where I was… which allowed me time and space to unleash my creative energy.”
The house, originally built by Edward 30 years ago and running on rainwater and a cosy combustion stove, proffers a quaint blend of china and crystal antiques, Egyptian artworks and items sourced according to Lorna’s vintage rose obsession: “We’ve got a love for vintage. We love vintage art, vintage paintings and objects. I love anything rose or pink.”
There is also a feng shui colour scheme operating both inside the rooms and outside in the garden. “It’s gold/yellow in the centre for energy, and around the centre are different colours – each room represents a different part of your life,” Lorna explains. “I love the pink area; that’s for friendship and family. If I do homewares shopping, I now try to stick to a colour code!”
However, it’s the way in which Lorna has transformed the spaces within the house that is most fascinating. To begin with, there’s a room for Lorna’s ‘children’ – pythons Diamond, Amunra, Venus and Phoenix. A second room dazzles with glamorous burlesque costumes (tiaras, peacock feathers, bustiers, capes and more), and a central dance space is kept clear of furniture and regularly ‘charged’ with incense, smudge sticks, candles and music. “It’s my creative space. I have the creative freedom to do what I want in there, and be experimental.”
Outside, a larger rehearsal space has been fashioned for use in the warmer months, complete with oversized mirror and fragrant blooms planted as the backdrop. Mysteriously, avocado trees – the sacred tree of the Egyptians – have also appeared in the garden.
“My partner and I try to keep a relaxed, functioning space that we can feel comfortable and good in,” Lorna says. “We don’t invite drama. We’re very selective about what energies come in.”
A peaceful environment is important considering that ‘drama’ is what Lorna does for a living. Crowned Miss Fantastic Australia and Miss Burlesque South Australia 2010, as well as appearing on Australia’s Got Talent, Flavella L’Amour’s unique ‘serpent dancing’ has turned many heads. “I just love dance. I love performing, and I’ve had a lot of success from doing something unique.” Her repertoire includes the Egyptian Goddess Isis, the Dance of the Seven Veils, Bollywood, Moulin Rouge, Arabian Nights, Moroccan, Masquerade, an Aztec jungle dance and 1920s showgirl, complete with pearls and feather fans.
“When I was 19, my ex-partner said, ‘Come and live in the rainforest with me’, and that’s where I had my first connection with snakes,” Lorna says. “I was sleeping on the floor and there was a snake sleeping high on a ledge above me, and it was really terrifying. But we’d seen a lot of snakes in the garden beds and I felt they moved so exquisitely. He stayed there for the winter hibernating and when he left, I missed him. He emanated this amazing presence and I realised I really liked its energy. I had an epiphany: ‘Wouldn’t it be so glamorous if I danced in a restaurant with snakes while people were fine dining?’ Many years later, it happened.”
A dancer all her life, Lorna studied at the Centre for the Performing Arts in Adelaide and at Lismore’s Northern Rivers Conservatory. Her background in calisthenics, yoga, contemporary dance, ballet, jazz, tap and belly dance finally merged into a singular vision in 2006. “I went out solo – completely original – and started dancing with snakes. When I first did [serpent dancing], it was unheard of. I worked six years in a job I didn’t like to get me going.”