Pyrrha Sutra – Phoenix, AZ
The first time I saw Pyrrha Sutra, my standard of entertainment changed forever. I recall peering over a fourth floor railing to see her on the pool deck below as she began one of her performances. With leather-clad dancers on either side of her and synchronized mermaid swimmers at her feet, the night caught fire as she performed an unforgettable display of acrobatics and pyrotechnics; the performance culminating in her lighting a blunt with flames that shot from her nipple pasties.
Born Christy Decker, Sutra was raised in Arizona with a family well-rooted in the entertainment business. Her uncle, Louis Crandall, was creator of the Wild West-themed amusement park Legend City in Tempe. Growing up around performers, classical dancers and musicians, Christy found herself “fascinated with Old Hollywood glamour,” she recalls, and decided from an early age that she “was going to grow up and be like that.” But it wasn’t until her introduction to 1960s burlesque legend Angel Walker that Christy would become Pyrrha Sutra, her fiery onstage persona.
Around that same time, Christy’s unique talents were gaining recognition. In 2004, she was asked to design a burlesque variety show for a nightclub in Phoenix called Palazzo, owned by former Studio 54 set designer Steve Rogers. This is where Pyrrha Sutra stepped in, and with the guidance of her mentor, Angel Walker, Pyrrha conceptualized and choreographed “Scandalesque,” a popular burlesque show.
This prestigious, provocative spectacle was a variety show that entailed burlesque, aerial acrobatics, pyrotechnics, vocalists and circus-style entertainment featuring whips, chains, latex and so much more. The show’s reputation quickly gained notoriety, propelling Pyrrha into a career that would take her on world tours and get her airtime on MTV and the Travel Channel.
“Growing up around performers, classical dancers and musicians, Christy found herself ‘fascinated with Old Hollywood glamour’. . .”
In 2013, however, Pyrrha fell on hard times. With several deaths in her immediate family, a divorce, and an unhealthy relationship with her business partner, she was “burnt out.” “All the glitter was gone,” remembers Pyrrha. “I got tired of perfecting my persona, instead of [perfecting] myself as a human being . . . so that’s what I did.” After taking the necessary time to process her grief and make some tough decisions, Pyrrha emerged from the ashes of her despair like a fiery phoenix.
This time, she did so under her own label, PS Presents. In 2014, Pyrrha moved to L.A. in search of what was next. She focused on her craft, developed business relationships and worked with a wide variety of performers and charities that she remains connected to today. A year and a half later, Pyrrha moved back from L.A. to settle in the desert. “It was a short stay, but I got a lot done,” she remarks of her time in the City of Angels.
Pyrrha is currently presenting and performing in her own burlesque dinner theater called “Lavish” at the Majestic Theatre in Sedona. The Vegas-style variety show features fresh performances that include cabaret-influenced burlesque, silk aerialists, movement artists, sultry jazz vocals, flamenco and, of course, fire!
In addition to her performance life, Pyrrha also teaches ballet, tap and jazz and does freelance floral design for high-end events for clients who include Will Smith, Waylon Jennings and Alice Cooper. Truth be told, Pyrrha is a down-to-earth woman with a top-shelf follow your passion attitude. Her dedication to the modern art of burlesque is a testament to her skill as a performer and showcases her understanding and respect of a long-gone era all while continuing to innovate and propel her industry to the forefront of entertainment.
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