Tips for Tuesday: How to be Sexy (Burlesque Performance)

Above: Eye Contact is everything! Photo by Ben Trivett.

Students often ask me how to feel sexier onstage. Of course "being sexy" isn't everyone's goal, but for those who want to learn it or experiment with it, here are some techniques to try!

1) Be present. Stop every other thing you're doing and pay attention to the person or audience that's in front of you. You absolutely cannot do this with your eyes down, so take a deep breath and look around. Meet them where they are.

2) Stand still. Many of us walk around getting unwanted comments from strangers, from insulting and threatening to sexually harassing. This is the moment YOU have chosen to be looked at. Revel in it. Acknowledge that you are giving them permission to look.

3) Let them know you appreciate them. With your face and body language, say, "Thank you for coming. And you may enjoy me. You're welcome."

4) Think to yourself, "I'm sexy." Whether that makes you laugh or makes you strut, that's a sexy place! Laughing is sexy because everyone wants to be a part of whatever you're doing that's so much fun. And if people giggle when you turn on the sexy, understand that they are likely reacting with delight, not ridicule.

5) This is key: work on making the person or audience in front of you feel sexy. If you can look at them and think straightforwardly, "You look fantastic!" or "I like you," they're going to want more of you. Charisma isn't about making them think you're interesting; it's about letting them know you find them interesting.

If you've been to several different burlesque shows, you've probably seen the audience react with delight to every kind of body. I'm nearly 60 years old, way past the time I'd be considered a candidate for a mainstream centerfold, yet people are titillated when I perform. Let that be evidence that whatever your body is, people are happy to see it. There's no way to be sexy to everyone, because "sexy" is subjective, but you'll find your people! Let me know what works for you in the comments.


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