Things I Have Learned Doing Burlesque

 

There have been many things I’ve learned since embarking on the burlesque journey in 2009 by Bluestocking Lounge founder Lilly Laudanum… 

I moved to South Wales from London in 2005 and didn’t get the opportunity to get out and meet new friends, other than in the circles my husband moved in, so heading out on the burlesque journey (via workshops including the Lollipop Lounge’s burlesque weekend down the Gower, where Lady Cheek’s Cheek Of It All, Missy Malone and Leyla Rose held classes) gave me the chance to find my partner in burly ‘crime’ DeeDee DeLa Rouge, great friend titty Amour who runs Ruby Rooms in the Haverford West / Narberth area and other lovely and like-minded ladies. We also get the opportunity to meet and become firm friends with the ladies on our courses and audience members… Burlesque – you’ve changed my life! So what have I learned? 
To drive!
Yes, before we embarked on the burly journey both DeeDee and myself had passed our driving tests but were both too scared to drive… A show came up in Exeter, courtesy of those lovely Exeter Alternative Theatre types and one of us had to drive and I drew the short straw… The bonus is that both myself and DeeDee are now on the road and loving it (I still need to turn the lights on when driving though – to avoid being stopped by the police!)
That the higher the heel doesn’t = the more ‘burlesque’ you are!
Funny, as when we all start, the temptation is to bang on a pair of high heels and totter about. The fact is, if you are serious about performing, and can’t even walk in heels higher than a certain height, why would you hit the stage in skyscrapers? Better to stick to a comfortable heel that doesn’t restrict your movements (or a dance shoe with a more flexible sole!)
That undressing every evening would soon become more ‘burlesque’
That’s right! I can’t seem to take off socks – or any item of clothing for that matter – in a ‘theatrical way, without a peel and a ridiculous look on my face!
That taking off clothes requires you to put on a LOT of underwear!
Got the nude tights? check. The nude fishnet tights? check. The nude ‘safety’ thong? check. The show pants? check. Who knew hitting the stage would require THIS MUCH undergarments?
That I’d like an ‘interesting’ variety of tunes
I’ve always been into alternative music, and having been a music journalist for 20 years, punk, metal, hardcore, etc, has been my life. So how is it that I can’t seem to shift the music of Sam Taylor and his orchestra, Sonny Lester – or worse – that ‘Man With The Golden Arm’ from permanent rotation in my bran jukebox?
Burly fever!
Who needs illegal drugs when there’s burlesque? What could possibly be more more-ish? Nothing beats looking at amazing performers, original routines, beautiful lines on stage, clever costumes and a performer who exudes confidence…
Miming helps!
I never thought I’d ever re-visit some of my mime training (and actually my cousin, having trained with LeCoq is an amazing mime artist – he runs the Actors Space in Barcelona  – I could never achieve that level of greatness in mime!!) but doing tech runs, miming is an asset! This is what the audience never see – performers dressed in their ‘civvies’ taking an invisible glove/stocking off with such finness…
Friends!
Ah yes – a bit mushy, but I’ve met some lovely, valuable friends doing this! I really look forward to the dressing room banter too (yes, bonding, not bondage – that might be a different kinda show!) – there’s nothing more bonding than lending another performer your emergency pants!

 

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