Q: I recently had one of the best nights out of my life! My best girls and I went out for a night on the town, no real plans, just ready to enjoy whatever came up. We hit a few bars, we talked to a few blokes, but we were mostly interested in our group and having drinks and fun together. Near the end of the night, we happened on a small bar that I knew had a little stage. We’d come from some really crowded places and were ready for a little quiet and this place looked good for that. But it wasn’t quiet, it was amazing! I just saw my first burlesque show and I am so excited! The girls all looked so amazing and I couldn’t believe how liberal and comfortable they were with their bodies. They weren’t all slim and toned. They had curves! And skin! And bellies, even, in some cases! In other words, they looked like me...and now I want to be one of them. So, how do I get into burlesque dancing?
A: That is so cool you had such a great night out with your mates and discovered something that was so invigorating and affirming. Many women, and men too, have had similar experiences to you with burlesque. It is an artform that has long embraced people of all body types and shapes. It embraces people of different visions of artistic expression and levels of experience. It is a great way to be sexual in public spaces while at the same time being fun, satirical or even political. All with some tits and ass hanging out to whatever your comfort level is.
Fortunately, the modern burlesque renaissance has brought with it a significant level of organization. When it first started out, fifteen or so years ago, the burlesque scene was a hodgepodge of people looking to the past and hoping to re-establish a fairly influential entertainment form. So, one of the best things you can do is some research about the history of burlesque, some of the famous folks who were involved and how it all started up again in its current incarnation. The burlesque community is strong and it is always good to know your elders.
Another great thing that comes out of this resurgence is the great number of burlesque schools that have opened around the world. Often these are run by some of the most respected and adored performers who travel all over the globe entertaining audiences big and small. Now, these aren’t just for folks who hope to do this as a job, but the burlesque schools are great for people who just want to learn how to shimmy, learn how to put together a costume, learn how to build a fun and entrancing routine, learn how to choreograph a strip. There are many different things that go into a great burlesque routine and the schools are a great resource.
Finally, and maybe you do this already, get yourself in front of the mirror and practice dancing your way out of your clothes! Burlesque is about much more than getting nearly naked...but that is still a big part of it. You need to be comfortable with people seeing your body. Hopefully you already are!
Again, good for you for finding something new. And I bet you’ll be a regular at shows now—whether you’re watching or in them!