Showing posts from March, 2019

Confidence Tip!

Above: Photo of Jo Weldon by Don Spiro.
I did an "Ask Me Anything" and someone asked me how to feel more confident onstage. Everyone has confidence struggles at times, and I had to learn techniques to make my performances work even when I was terrified of disappointing the audience.

I'm in AA, and one of the techniques sponsors/advisors use when someone calls them freaking out and feeling despair or fear is to tell us to call someone else and see how THEY feel. And it works! When I focus on someone else's needs,  I worry less about my own.

So here’s my answer for the person who asked me how to feel more confident onstage : When you feel unpleasantly self-conscious onstage, remember that the opposite of self-consciousness is other-consciousness. Think about the people in the audience. How can you connect to them? How can you honor the time and money they spent to come see you? It can change everything to look at them and think, “thank you for coming!” or “you look fabul…

MisSa Blue is Working to Connect POC in Burlesque WorldWide

MisSa Blue will be hosting a meetup for POC performers in NYC April 8, 2019. Details

MisSa talks about her meetup plans:
The NYC one will be my first meetup on my own. I have attended POC Meetups in the past during Fringe Festivals in Australia, Scotland and during BHOF. I find it incredible to hear about the amazing projects my colleagues get up to. Every time I have left the meeting touched and revitalised, inspired and happy. Since these meetings are not happening at every festival yet, I decided to start my own meeting concept to keep bringing POC together. 

Due to token booking especially in Europe and Australia I rarely get to share the stage with another POC. Until recently I felt more like we've been competing against each other for that 'one spot' in the show. These meetings are set out to create a sense of community. If we get to know each other better we can create friendships and inspire and help each other rather than living in competition. POC have different ne…

Feline Friday: Ariel Helvetica's Leopard Print Burlesque

Ariel Helvetica's Leopard Print Burlesque

by Jo Weldon

I'm launching a new feature for this blog, in which I'll interview some of my favorite performers about their fabulous leopard print costumes. Please share and comment if you enjoy!

Ariel Helvetica competed in the Best Debut category at The Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender in 2018 in a spectacular leopard costume, and I knew I had to get a closer look! The weekender's pageant features some of the world's most innovative and exciting burlesque, and the way this costume broke down blew my mind. Plus, LEOPARD!

Above: Ariel Helvetica by Mike White.

Above: Ariel Helvetica by Tom Gould.

Who made the costume? Christina Manuge of Manuge Et Toi made the bra, corset, garter, panty and skirt!
Misty Greer made the two sets of gloves and I made the hat. 

What inspired you to choose it? 
This costume got started in 2016, when I found the gold glitter leopard print mesh at the garment district in New York.  It…

Making Introductions: Etiquette Guidelines for Performers and Emcees

Photo: Don Spiro
I occasionally post a request for input on Facebook when I’m writing an article. Often there is little or no response, as people don’t always have strong opinions about the subjects I’m addressing, but when I asked for suggestions about performer to emcee and emcee to performer etiquette, I got more response than I could handle in 1000 words! As always, there are exceptions to most of these rules, but it’s the rules that help you understand the tenets of burlesque show business. When in doubt, etiquette goes by the rules. First, from the performers: 1) Use a performer’s name precisely as designated. I had no idea that many performers do not wish to be called “Miss” until I got feedback on this topic from several performers who complained about it. I never mind being called “Miss Jo Weldon,” but there are many performers who deeply dislike having it added to their stage names if it’s not already included. 2) Avoid playing favorites. Performers hate it when an emcee sp…

How to Send Music For a Burlesque Show

How to Send Music for Burlesque Shows by Jo Weldon

As a producer, I like to receive my music from performers like so:


If you are a producer, please add your thoughts in the comments! The purpose of this post is to make it easier for producers to work with new performers. Your input is most valuable right here on this blog where hundreds of burlesque students from around the world will see it every month. I’ve performed burlesque to every format of music, from a  live band to a vinyl record to a cassette tape to a prerecorded CD to my own recorded CD to a flash drive to an emailed file to my iPhone. (I can tell you, I’m very glad to not have to carry a live band around with me anymore.) Technology changes fast and it’s good to be prepared for almost anything, particularly for a DJ but also for a performer. If you are performing in a burlesque show, the best way to send music is the way the producer asks you to send it. This means you’ll have to read every em…

POC Meetup in NYC Hosted by MisSa Blue!

MisSa Blue, the Number One Burlesque Figure in Europe, will be hosting a meetup for POC in New York City on April 8, 2019. It will be held in a closed studio where burlesque performers and producers of color can network and discuss the local scene. Please share, repost, and let people know!

Event Details

Master Splits with Freya West in NYC!

Splits look beautiful on stage and can be a powerful addition to any performer’s choreography. Desire those gorgeous flat splits but need coaching on how to get there? You probably won’t get your splits in just one session, but this conditioning and stretching workshop will give you the tools to take home to work on your splits focusing on stability and safety. Employing a variety of strengthening exercises and static stretching, Journey to Splits can help you reach your flexibility goals.

March 30, 2019.

Register Now

From Freya:
I'm Freya West. 
I'm a body positive, shimmy shaking, fire eating performance artist, writer and teacher. 
A professional writer since 2006, I've been a beat reporter for a scrappy Chicago newspaper, offbeat arts feature writer for glossy consumer magazines, social media consultant for teen pop idols, copywriter for trade and consumer brands, managing editor of travel publications, and communications manager for multi-state non-profits, balancing corpor…

Make a Tassel to Match Your Fringe!

I made a quick video to illustrate the instructions in The Burlesque Handbook. This is perfect if you want your tassels to match your fringe perfectly.

Feel free to ask any questions or make suggestions in the comments! And I'd love to see pictures of videos of your results if you use the instructions.

This video is dedicated with much love to Lulu Limoncella, NYSB alumnus, for all her efforts and support.

If you find this article useful, please consider buying me a cup of coffee! I've been publishing hundreds of thousands of words of advice for free for over a decade, and I appreciate the recognition of the work that goes into it.

How To Support Friends in Burlesque Competitions

Notifications are going out for The Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender, and many people are understandably in their feelings. Competition both challenges performers to take their art form to another level, and challenges members of the community to remain gracious and compassionate. I wrote this article to share my perspective on how be supportive of people who have decided to compete. Whether or not you believe in competition, it exists, so I'm hoping everyone can find their best intentions and enjoy the ride!

"11. Make it about the performance, not the title. It’s totally possible that your friend may be a better performer than the winner, but did not win. This is not a huge betrayal of them and their passion. It is simply the outcome of a pageant that was made up by somebody and that some other people decided to take seriously and that came out that way on that particular night. Also, there are people with fantastic international careers who have never competed or have comp…

Teacher/Student Dos and Don'ts (Recovered Article)

I wrote this article to support both instructors and students, to help them get the most from each other and serve each other to the best of their abilities.
Instructors: Be grateful when students tell you that you’ve inspired them, but remember that inspiration is your job. Stay humble and grounded. Always be learning. Be kind but honest. You'll serve students properly if you remember not to prize being liked over getting your students to do their best. Not telling people when what they’re doing doesn’t work is like stealing their time and money. They may take your advice or leave it, but at least you did what you were hired to do. Make sure your class conforms to the description that prompted the students to register for the class, and let them know if anything changes. You can't change it after they pay, as their payment was based on their expectations at the time. Describe your qualifications and accreditation honestly. It will help you find the right students. It's ok…

The Costumes of Burlesque: Upcoming Book From Coleen Scott

The author of The Pastie Project is publishing a new book this year!
The Costumes of Burlesque: 1866-2018 is the first volume to inclusively document burlesque costume from its birth in the 1860’s through the global burlesque movement in 2018. This lushly illustrated book presents the history and development of this American art form by documenting the origins, influencers, and genuine articles that created its aesthetic. Showcases of legendary performers, including Lydia Thompson, Gypsy Rose Lee, Sally Rand, Bettie Page, Kitten Natividad, and Dita Von Teese, demonstrate costume styles through the years. This guidegives readers a clear view of how burlesque costume looked and why, and teaches collectors, burlesque performers, and fans alike to recognize vintage pieces for what they are and to design their own costumes with inspiration from the originals. With detailed costume documentation, over 400 images, and interviews with prominent costume designers such as Catherine D’Lish and G…