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Showing posts from April, 2019

Tips for Tuesday: Stage Names for Burlesque Success

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Stage Names for Burlesque Success When I ask new students what they consider the purpose of a stage name to be, they give me a lot of great answers. “To establish a character.” “To separate your stage persona from your normal business life.” “To fulfill your vision of yourself.” “To mark a new era of your life.” “To name your artist self.” This is all true and important. However, if they are thinking about performing with any regularity, it’s important for them to think about branding as well. The word branding can be used in a lot of really obnoxious and dehumanizing ways, but it’s a professional must, so look at it in the sense of creating professional and artistic ease and freedom. What, for purposes of branding, does a new burlesque performer need to consider? The hardest part of this is often that the most burlesquey-sounding names are all taken. Cat references, color references, French names, etc. What’s a newbie to do? Consider the following: 1. Google. They need to make sure t…

Workshops with Asian Burlesque Extravaganza Headliners!

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Asian Burlesque Extravaganza 2019
Instructors: Ms B LaRose and Miss Di'Lovely

Workshops With Stars of The Asian Burlesque Extravaganza!
These special workshops are available in NYC only in association with this annual event! Don't miss out! Saturday, May 4, 2019, 1 - 4 pm. 

1 - 2.25 pm: Slay Cabaret with Miss Di'Lovely

Above: Photo of Miss Di'Lovely by MC Newman.
Not for the faint of heart! This class starts with a light warm up and across-the-floor combinations to review syncopated movement, fusing contemporary jazz, modern, and hip hop. Jazz Funk is a hybrid dance style, showcasing the intense dynamics of musicality, femininity, and expression. Bring on the sass, as you learn a high energy choreographed piece!
2.35 pm - 4 pm: Floorwork with Ms B LaRose
Above: Photo of Ms B LaRose by Jeff Millies
“I never felt so comfortable being myself until I had seen you dance” is one of the most compelling commendations to receive off stage. Help unleash your prowess, build self c…

Feline Friday: Blaze Burlesque

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The first time I saw this costume, it reminded me of one of my favorite feline femmes fatales, Belita in Invitation to The Dance! I know Blaze from her volunteer work with the Burlesque Hall of Fame, and found out we share some inspirations, as well as our love for leopard print and the color red.

Blaze is from Dallas. Texas, and has been performing for 8 years. She is the fiery redhead known as ‘The Red Rose of Texas’! An international award winning performer & costume designer, she’s garnered accolades such as ‘Most Classic’, 'Biggest Tease' and 2014's 'Evil Queen of Burlesque'! She is the seamstress behind www.RedRoseRegalia.com and has created costumes for performers all over the world.


What was your inspiration for this costume?

Aside from the love of leopard print, I came across several vintage photos of beautiful gowns and combined my favorite aspects from each! Here's a link to my inspiration post about it.


Who made it, and how long did it take? 

I mad…

What To Cover When Uncovering : Showgirls May Only Show So Much

The incremental revealing of flesh, particularly when combined with the serving of alcohol, has always been scrutinized with serious moral intent by governmental bodies. Lawmakers spend hours poring over every pore, but it’s all for the public good -- so they say.

When I was a touring feature dancer in the 1980s/90s I was doing 15- 20 minute sets of 3-5 songs. I had to have different endings for each routine, depending on where I was going. In some counties I could end fully nude; in others I had to finish in a bikini. In some I would do things like have people paint on me or drink champagne off my body; in others they couldn't come within three feet of me. My favorite incidence was when I was performing in a city in New York State. Feature dancers of the time posed for Polaroids with the customers, for a fee. Inside this club the customers had to stand three feet from me when I was topless, but away from the strip joint's property I could be topless in public, so we would wal…

Tips for Tuesdays: Shoes. Burlesque Shoes.

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Your shoes should look as good as the rest of you when you're onstage. Students often ask me what the best shoes are for burlesque, and as always, there are many options depending on the individual's needs. Heels are expected but not required!


Shoe options less common among burlesque performers:



Bare feet
I've been deeply involved with fetish, so to me bare feet are a gorgeous reveal, as on Lili St. Cyr, above. However, many dancers make magic in bare feet from the beginning to the end of a number. Just be aware that there will be haters.  If you’re a great dancer in bare feet and a mediocre dancer in shoes, fuck the haters, go bare.  I have seen people dwell for years on unasked-for criticisms about their bare feet, so please don’t be a hater. People without shoes can still kick your ass.





Half-Soles
There are various kind of footwear, both substantive and decorative, for people who want the freedom of bare feet but can be decorated, or come already decorated, so their fe…

Feline Friday: Kitten N Lou Love Leopard!

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Kitten N Lou comprise one of the hottest teams in burlesque today, traveling the world with their unique duets. Their numbers are highly developed, meticulously choreographed, extravagantly costumed, and manage to be both elegant and hilarious. Above all, they celebrate camp (a topic I address in my book on leopard print, see http://www.historyofleopardprint.com), in a way that makes it accessible to the uninitiated and thrilling for those in the know. I’m happy they took time out of their insanely busy schedule to indulge my curiosity about their affinity for the Cat! Jo: How would you describe your performance style? KNL:  Burlesque that is deeply rooted in musical theater, vaudeville, and camp. Jo: What is your background/training?  Kitten: I have danced my entire life (ballet, tap, jazz, etc.), but actually went to school and have a degree in English Literature and Art History. My mom is SO thrilled with how I ended up using my degree! (sarcasm).  A little known additional fact about…

“Why Do I Remember Insults More Than Compliments?”

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I talk to my students a lot about confidence and about evaluating their own work and presentations. “Why does an insult feel so bad when I’ve had so many compliments?” is one of the most frequent questions I hear. “Am I insecure? Ungrateful? Neurotic?” Let’s say you’ve posted a picture on Facebook (source of so much casual cruelty these days) and dozens of people say how amazing, beautiful, inspiring the photo is. One person says, “You need to work on pouting your toes,” , “Gee, you’ve gotten so much better!” or, if they really don’t belong in your friends feed, “I don’t see what the big deal is. Her wig is awful.” Or perhaps someone even said something outright evil (BLOCK BLOCK BLOCK them!) Let’s just stick to the first one. They may not consciously mean that as an insult, but sure, it’s a swipe. It’s not just a swipe at you; it’s a swipe at all the people who had the ignorance to think you were great. There is nothing wrong with you if you remember this insult more than all those …

Tips for Tuesday: Chair Dance

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This past Sunday I had to give a student quick tips for an upcoming chair-and-stocking-peel dance, and it reminded me that I've never done a post for one!

I love watching chair dances, and I love teaching them. Here are some of my favorite chair dance tips for people who are completely new to them.

1) Use the chair. Often a new performer will have a chair on the stage and use it only occasionally, or to sit down for only one incident of clothing removal. However, that's a missed opportunity! Make the most of it -- it's taking up a lot of your space, after all.

2) Rehearse in your costume to make sure that if you spin or lay back, your earrings, hair piece, etc, don't fall off or get stuck to your lipstick. Rehearsing in your costume is a good tip for any number, actually. Also, consider how painful it can be if you have trim like beaded fringe on your butt. Owwwwww I learned that one the hard way!

3) If you're taking off stockings, you can do it standing up, sitti…

Announcement: I'm Performing at BHoF!

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I'll be performing at the 2019 Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender June 9 in the Icons and All-Stars showcase! I'm excited to see everyone there and honored to be in the company of this incredible cast!
This weekender is a fund-raising event for the Burlesque Hall of Fame Museum. It honors contemporary performers and legends of burlesque with shows, parties, events, and workshops.
Photo of me by Adrian Buckmaster.  MUAH by Diety Delgado. Gown by Fleur De Lis.

In Honor of Satan's Angel

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Interview with a Legend: Satan's Angel
September 06, 2007


Usually on Fridays I post a "Feline Fridays" interview about leopard print costumes, but today I want to honor the passing of Satan's Angel by reposting this interview.

Satan's Angel was one of the first Burlesque Legends I met, I believe over 15 years ago, and I'm so glad I knew her. She was one of the fiercest people I've ever known, having lived through a time when gay women were persecuted and marginalized to an extent it's hard for younger Americans' to imagine. She was vivid, opinionated, challenging, and full of stories. She traveled the world, loved hard, and inspired generations of new performers. My heart goes out to her family and other loved ones today. I'll miss her, too. The interview is over 12 years old, so the original images are missing from the sites where they were hosted at the time. I'll search for them and fill them in later. Image above was lifted from http://ww…

Burlesque Legend Miss Topsy!

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Above: Miss Topsy.  Image from the Collection of Burlesque Hall of Fame Board Member Neil Nez Kendall
A message from Nez! His text follows:
BREAKING BURLESQUE LEGEND NEWS I have amazing news!! Since last June I have been on and off chatting to 1950's Burlesque Star Miss Topsy thanks to some amazing people in the US community who got me in touch with her. She is a huge and significant part of Burlesque history so with that in mind. I AM GOING TO DO A LAST MINUTE FUND RAISING BID TO COVER HER AIR FARE TO GET HER TO BURLESQUE HALL OF FAME THIS JUNE!! I am already running a half marathon and have set up a Just Giving Page in the body of this post !
Topsy has never been to Vegas and hasn't been aware of our work at Burlesque Hall so its time to redress that balance!! I have just come off the phone to Topsy and got a yes to a visit in June !! ... its taken weeks to convince her to come and this is coming months after Sweetpea put me on a detective trail to find her last summer. I am…

Burlesque Costumiers on Etsy

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Above: Me in a Beaded Fringe Costume I Made For Myself. Below: Me in a Reptile Costume I Made For Myself (Not the Head Though)


Usually, I post about bespoke costumiers, as in my past articles about Garo Sparo and Catherine D'Lish, and I'll keep doing that! However, I want to make sure that burlesquers who don't have the resources or inclination for fittings and custom work know that they can shop online as well.

I asked some of my friends to name their favorite Etsy accounts. I like the dedicated, experienced burlesque costumiers on Etsy because they know what burlesquers need and want. For instance, most mass-produced tasseled pasties aren't made to produce the optimal twirl. but makers on Etsy usually know what works! They know how to make breakaways, and what's best for movement. There are also many incredible costumiers on Instagram.

Most of these makers also do custom and bespoke, but these pictures are of items from their shops you can buy right away. They a…