The world of burlesque

The big, amazing, sparkly world of burlesque

… and how I joined it!
Ms Tittle Tattle
Image of Ms Tittle Tattle by Mareea Vegas via the Bombshell Burlesque Facebook page.

Three years ago I spotted an ad for an evening class run by Bombshell Burlesque in Glamilton called “An intro to the Art of the Tease.”  The description of the course intruiged me … “a dip into the amazingly sparkly, gorgeous world of glamour that is burlesque” and “we’ll soon have you shimmying and strutting like a glamorous showgirl.”  Now three years ago this struck me as an outrageous thing for me to think about doing, so I decided I should shake my life up, get outside my comfort zone and give it a try!

Giggling, I texted my friend to see if she would come along to class with me and she hesitantly agreed.  Unfortunately on the morning of the class she decided not to attend and so I VERY NEARLY didn’t go along!  But fate intervened in the form of my partner who, when I told him my friend wasn’t attending, responded with “so that means you’re going to chicken out then aye?”  Well .. that was that … even though he was totally correct (!) his assumption made me realise I had no choice … I simply had to do it!

So on the designated Wednesday night I nervously set out with my bestest heels on and my heart beating flat stick!  The first block of classes I attended was actually held in a bar, but thankfully there were never any punters to witness the shenanigans and it meant we could have a little “dutch courage” if we so desired, so that worked out well.

Ms Tittle Tattle was, and is, the Head Mistress of Bombshell Burlesque.  She was gorgeous; dressed up to the nines in a sparkling corset and beautiful hoisery that night – she made me feel like I was starting out on the adventure of a lifetime (which, as it turns out, I was!)  She gave us an overview of the classic style of burlesque she teaches and a bit of the history of burlesque and the trailblazing women who had tread the stage before us.

Did you know … the original meaning of the word “burlesque” was to parody; to make fun of; to send up?  Later of course, the element of striptease was introduced and it became quite risqué.  In all honesty however, you can get up on stage and have the audience screaming for more by simply removing a glove in the right way – as they say, burlesque is the art of the tease.

Bonita Dangerdoll
Image of one of my favourite NZ-based performers, Bonita Dangerdoll, from Fat Cat Photography via http://www.dangerdoll.co.nz

In my observation, burlesque can be sexy, sassy, cutesy, flirty, funny, sultry, raunchy and sometimes downright confronting, depending on the performer and their mood at the time.

One of the things Ms Tittle Tattle is big on at Bombshell Burlesque is character development.  For me, that is one of burlesque’s major appeals.  You are strongly encouraged to develop a character for yourself; your performance in class and on stage, should you choose to take that path, will embody that character.  Ms Tittle Tattle instructs you to leave your normal persona at the door and bask in the glory of your burlesque alter-ego!  Which actually, is a whole lot of fun!  You’re encouraged to develop your character’s style; choose a name for her; think about how she dresses; how she thinks; what music she listens to, what her friends are like – essentially anything that helps make her real to you!

For the record, my character is named Ronnie La Rue; she’s a “cheesecake” style performer who loves shoes and sparkly things, and loves a bit of humour and sass in her routines.

As I said earlier, the character thing has major appeal for me.  Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely love my life and I have a gorgeous daughter; a wonderful partner and fabulous family and friends.  However, once a week I get dressed up and head off to burlesque where I leave that version of me at the door and indulge my alter-ego for an hour or so, and … it’s bliss, and all you Mummies (and non-Mummie’s too) should do it for yourself!

Azurre D'Murre
The stunning Azure D’Murre, another of my favourite performers, performing her Highway Man routine.

The other thing Ms Tittle Tattle is big on in her burlesque classes is developing body confidence; she teaches you how to hold yourself, how to lock on your core, how to pose for photographs, how to work your angles and your curves, how to strut your stuff and how to love the skin you’re in.  Perfect!  Sometimes I think teenage girls should be taught a “PG version” of a burlesque class – it might save them some of the angst they go through in relation to their bodies.

Body confidence is perhaps one of  the most amazing things about the burlesque community; it’s such a positive environment for women (and the few men who are involved as well – boylesquers they’re called!) … you don’t need to be a slender goddess (ie Dita von Teese – although, OMG isn’t she fabulous?!) to really rock a burlesque routine; in fact many of our most fabulous performers are very curvy ladies indeed (think Dirty Martini) and they are every bit as sexy as the more slender girls, who in turn, are very sexy ladies too!

Which leads me to the fact that one of the most important things I’ve learnt from burlesque is that CONFIDENCE IS SEXY!  So rock those curves, play up those long, lean limbs and have fun with your body – people will love you for it!

Ms Tittle Tattle Bombshell Burlesque
Ms Tittle Tattle – image from Anne Challinor Photography, via Bombshell Burlesque’s Facebook page.

Things you’re likely to do at a burlesque class …
m
eet some fabulous people and make some great friends
develop some hella body confidence!
find hidden depths to your personality
dress up – the sky’s the limit!
get outside your comfort zone
have the most fun you’ve had in a long time!

What has burlesque done for me?
Well … burlesque was a MAJOR contributor to helping me develop and refinine what I now term MumptyStyle!
It helped me learn to love my body (don’t get me wrong, there are still lumps and bumps I could do without!)
It helped develop my confidence, which in turn led to all sorts of cool things in my life.  (Lots of posts on those things to come!)
Even this blog can be partially attributed to burlesque.

Goodness, I sound like burlesque evangalist don’t I?

All I will say is give it a try.  You might just love it!     

Enjoy …

Mumpty

2 thoughts on “The world of burlesque”

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