So you think glitter is just a burlesque cliche? You think there’s nothing more to it’s use in a burlesque performance than just being excessive with sparkly stuff? Well think again! Glitter has many, many benefits to the performer (and the audience!). Let us explain why…
Glitter covers all sins…
Well, not quite all sins – but you know what we mean. Attracted some bruises the day before the show? Perhaps your cat used your back as a scratching post? Or you made a mistake with your make-up and you are just about to hit the stage… Well, glitter can be your best friend! Sprinkle less that liberally onto the areas of concern (eg, if you have a bruise on your leg, cover both your legs so it doesn’t look like some weird highlighted glitter spot – unless you are going for that crazy style…)
Glitter accentuates movement…
If you are going to be making some subtle movements on stage (this works especially well for belly dancers, too!) then cover your body in glitter. Glitter will be picked up by the lights and will accentuate the area or muscle groups you are using, no matter how subtle.
Glitter will make your make-up better!
Yes! But we’re not talking about putting a tonne of glitter everywhere on your face. Choose areas to enhance, such as your lips (glitter looks fab over lipstick, making the colour pop – make sure you choose edible cake glitter if it is going near your mouth to avoid consuming), your cheek bone and the brow bone (done in a silver or skin coloured glitter, it can highlight the face under stage lighting), can enhance eye make-up (choose a colour in tone with the eye colour and never do both lips and eye unless you want to look like some horrific glitter fiend). If you use blood effects for your act (face, hands, etc), mix some red glitter into it for a wet look without it being wet (this also goes for props – bloodied burlesque props look better under lights with a bit of glitter!)
Glitter is easier to clean up than liquid
A lot of performers have an act where there is a liquid finale – champagne spilled all over the body, some kind of blood shower, etc… Most venues will not allow any liquid to be spilled on the stage and rather than ruin your act punchline, or changing the ending completely, glitter is a great alternative (and provides hours of fun for the audience after the show – if they are anything like our audiuences, they’ll all be rolling in it!) and is relatively easy to sweep up. Things to consider, though… A very fine glitter won’t show up as well under lighting than a larger grade, and if you are doing this kind of pour, you might want to mix the glitter with sequin pieces for maximum ‘catch the light’ effect.
Glitter makes removals magic!
Pour some into your hand when in a glove, load some in a scarf tied around the neck, put some into the rim of a hat or on feathered fans that are going to be lifted up as part of your act and you have the makings for magic! When you remove a glove and there’s a shower of glitter, the audience will respond with a chorus of ‘ahhh’s and ‘ooohhhh’s!
Glitter makes costumes less than ordinary!
Spray glitter spray on your costumes (in a well-ventilated area, not a small dressing room) or accessories for instant glam!
Things to consider, however…
Glitter is addictive! You might be surprised at the need to make everything glitter once you’ve started… And you might be surprised at how your benchmark for the definition of ‘subtle’ will move…
Glitter gets EVERYWHERE! We are not kidding… Weeks later you will see it in a draw, on the floor – even a spot on the cat. Our Lilly Laudanum once covered herself in so much glitter when doing a show in Leeds that she found some BEHIND the tv screen. We do not know to this day how it got there (there must be some kind of scientific explanation!).
Some venues don’t like glitter. It’s true. They are not spoil-sports, however. Some equipment doesn’t work well with glitter, such as stage monitors – you don’t want to be responsible for breaking those! Carpeted venues on the whole don’t like glitter as it is not easy to get out of a carpet so always check the situation before you pour glitter everywhere!
Some glitter will look bad as body glitter/make-up so choose your colours wisely. On the whole, pale, skin-toned colours such as bronzes, golds, silvers and peaches are great for body glitter – especially the hollographic kind (use a body cream or oil to adhere to the body and ALWAYS APPLY after pasties or merkins as you need a clean, dry area at be putting these on with clean, dry hands!) and match tones with your make up. Always apply glitter after you’ve applied false lashes. Bad colours for body glitter include greens, blues, reds (unless you are using these as a pour) and any dark colours which might make the skin look imperfect or flawed.
Glitter is super-slippery… So make sure, if you are using it as a stage pour, that you do it in an area of the stage you will not be walking over, you have grips to make your shoes non-slip (such as heart-stoppers, etc) or you pour when you are barefoot. And ensure that the show’s stage manager knows to clear the stage for the next performer. You really don’t want to be responsible for them going arse-over-tit.
Glitter does not belong in the eyes or mouth... so ensure when you are doing a glitter body pour that you don’t look directly into the stream with your mouth open… Best to aim for your chest, downwards… And if you are loaded it in gloves for a magical removal, make sure you throw it up and not in the face of the audience.