I read an interview with Kalani Kokonuts where she recommended beginning burlesque performers work at strip clubs to improve. Do you agree?

I don't think there is any one experience a burlesque performer needs to have to improve; it depends on the individual performer. In fact, if you've worked at strip clubs and have gotten in the habit of looking down at one person in the front row, that can work against you in burlesque, where you need to include the entire room in your attentions. But, strip joint strippers have the experience of going on stage thousands upon thousands of times, and that gives them a certain je nais se quoi--"I don't know who will respond, but I know someone will"--a confidence that puts the audience at ease. A lack of self-consciousness is very appealing, no matter what kind of performer you are.

A particularly interesting aspect of working strip clubs that I think about often as a performer is that strip joint strippers learn what works from audience response rather than a mirror. I notice this especially in bath numbers. A strip joint stripper will have had the experience of knowing that when a stream of soapy water goes over a certain part of the body, or when a stream of clear water is angled carefully off of a nipple, or when a sponge is slammed down into the water at a certain point in the music, the audience will be wildly responsive. You can't get that flavor of absolute knowledge from a mirror. So I do know what Kalani means!

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