Dear Burlesque Performer,
If you actively perform (part time at least and you want to perform even more), this is for you.
If you want to make your burlesque dance act better, this is definitely for you.
Maybe you have been doing the same routine for a while and you feel the urge to freshen it up without spending money on a whole new costume.
Maybe you want to keep your act but have it feel more like ‘you’ somehow (and have no idea where to even start).
Maybe you’re getting ready for a burlesque festival or competition and you want to bring your A game.
Maybe you want to do the exact same show but just ‘bring it’ more onstage and feel more confident about it like you see in some of the other performers you admire.
Maybe you know what you’d like to both express and experience with your act but you can’t consistently get it across or get into the zone.
Or maybe, even though you can’t put your finger on why, you aren’t feeling alive or finding the joy, delight and shazam that you once did when you performed this act.
If that sounds like you, I hear you. I’ve been performing Burlesque since 2000. I’ve probably done 1000 shows. And I’ve had many moments where I was in your shoes.
So, I’d like to make you an offer: Let me review your dance act.
The Three Secrets to Burlesque Routines That Audiences Love and Leave Raving About ::
There are a lot of ways that a routine can go right or wrong. Why do some work and others don’t? I know that many people would focus on the ‘Three C’s’ of choreography, costuming and concept. But I’ve seen hundreds of performances that were a 10/10 on all three C’s and yet left the audience bored, yawning or somehow disengaged. So, what’s really at the root of why certain performances fall flat or leave the performer feeling ‘off’ even if the audience responded just as they’d dreamed?
I believe it’s these three things. If you get these right, the Three C’s will shine to their fullest, if you get them wrong, no amount of innovative choreography, ornate costuming or clever concept will be enough. When you really understand the following three distinctions, your performances will come alive in a way you never imagined possible.
Mimicking is when the artist is mimicking movements she learned that she thinks look good or sexy. Reveling in her body is what happens when the artist is fully present and confident, regardless of what what she’s wearing or how she’s moving. Reveling is when the artist is present in the very center of herself. Instead of making an exaggerated pin-up inspired facial expression, she might be standing center stage taking a deep breath with a neutral gaze to arrive fully in her body. Instead of strutting in stiletto heels in a prescribed way that she learned is ‘sexy,’ she might choose to be barefoot--or wear combat boots or tennis shoes--if she feels more in her own skin that way. Whatever she is wearing or however she is moving, she is certainly aware of all that she is both sensing physically and feeling emotionally and is working with that, and using it as fuel for her expression.
When she’s performing in reaction to something (either rebellion OR submission). By reacting, I mean she is using her act exclusively as a way of being outrageous for outrageousness sake. She is expressing what she is not, who she is not, who she is flipping off, instead of expressing who she IS. By submitting, I mean the artist is on stage to be pretty or funny, to fit in with what she thinks will give her acceptance, to simply entertain the audience. She’s essentially wearing a mask. Revealing happens when the artist is radiantly coming alive, full of vitality, truly expressing herself. Revealing happens when she has transcended her need either to push against, or succumb to whatever social or personal obstruction exists to her being herself. We’ve been trained for so long to be pretty &/or funny to earn acceptance and praise. When the artist has had her full fill of OMG and WTF at how she’s been oppressed and not seen and not heard and not mirrored and not appreciated, and then instead of calcifying in anger about it all, or drowning in grief and powerless surrender, she takes the time and care to choose what she would like to create with her life, in this case, beginning with her burlesque solo. She uses her solo to create a template for the life she chooses to live, and to inspire others from her very example.
When the artist is moving constantly, with an absence of stillness she is actually blocking connection with her audience, and with herself. When the artist incorporates enough artful stillness (read: continues to breath throughout it) in her performance she is allowing herself to both deepen her tangible presence and the possibility of giving and receiving between her and her audience. Before an artist has even shown me her act, I can be 90% sure that if I could only give one piece of feedback that would be most useful it would be to do LESS. To move less. To take more time with the chosen movements. An artist doesn’t need to do much on stage to completely captivate an audience.
So, you have the Three C’s of choreography, costuming and concept.
And you have the Three R’s of Reveling in your body, Revealing your radiant essence and Receiving what you desire.
How do they relate?
I believe that The Three C’s must be in service to the Three R’s of If it’s the other way around, there is no life in your act.
- The 3 C’s are like the lightbulb and the 3 R’s are like the electricity that moves through it.
- The 3 C’s are like the windmill and the 3 R’s are like the wind.
- The 3 C’s are essential, but without the 3 R’s, they are like a body without life, rather than a living, breathing, animated body.
- The Three C’s are the ego and the Three R’s are the soul.
Here’s my promise to you ::
Your act will be better by the end of this.
You will sashe onto stage with a deeper confidence and comfort in your own skin than you may have felt in years. Your routine will fit you more closely (like a glove that you take off fairly quickly into your routine).