I’m all about trying new things this year and if it takes me out of my comfort zone, so much the better. So when my dear friend Ellen suggested a burlesque beginners workshop I thought – why not.
I’m familiar with burlesque – I’ve seen Dita Von Teese perform, one of my closest friends is a burlesque performer and I saw the 2010 ‘classic’ Burlesque. But not even Cher could have prepared me for what I was to embark on inside The Barre Studio in Sydney on Friday night.
The class was taken by the amazing Sheena Miss Demeanour, who made it look deceptively easy. I can tell you right now, all of you sitting there thinking burlesque is “just stripping”, you couldn’t be more wrong. I have been practicing yoga for well over a year now and I thought that would put me in good shape for this class – I was wrong. I’m sure all the yoga helped, but I had no concept of how much of a physical workout burlesque actually is.
Sheena ran us through the ‘bump and grind’, some classic glove removal techniques and exciting things which can be done with a feather boa. At the end of the evening, taking everything we’d learnt, we put together a routine, and you know what, it wasn’t half bad. Some moves were much easier to master than others, and I’ve realised I’m terrible at discerning my left from my right, but it was so much fun, I didn’t care that at times I looked like a bit of a fool.
I realised that burlesque is not just about the movement, so much of it is about attitude. If you want an audience to see you as a sexy, beautiful woman – than that is how you need to see yourself. There’s no place for uncertainty on that stage and to be honest – that would be the biggest challenge for me – every time I try to be sexy I end up laughing hysterically at myself.
So the verdict – it was an incredibly fun night and I left with an enormous amount of respect and admiration for burlesque performers. I felt intensely awkward and I know I wasn’t great and it is for these reasons that I fully intend to persevere and continue to attend burlesque classes. I’m not saying this is the start of my career as a burlesque performer, but I love a challenge, and mastering the art of burlesque is certainly going to be a challenge. Watch this space.