Do You Need to Create A Particular Type of Burlesque Number to Get More Bookings? (Business of Burlesque)

Illustration by Steffi Schutz

I've been asking people to tell me what they want me to write about in my blog, and certain topics come up over and over.
People regularly ask me if they need to do a certain kind of number to get booked. The most common stylistic question (though certainly not the only, because classic performers often ask me if they need to be more artsy or funnier or have more gravitas) is when someone who does mostly what we tend to call neo wonders if they should have a classic routine.
My honest answer is a question: why would you? Why would you want to create a number you're not passionate about to perform for a producer or an audience that doesn't care about what inspires you? Or worse, do a number you hate for an audience you don't respect?
Keep in mind: Performing burlesque is optional. You are doing it to satisfy yourself in some way that isn't about making the most money, or you'd be bartending. I'm a professional writer who's published two books and I can't rely solely on that to make a living either -- not even half a living -- I understand your pain. (Fortunately I love two things, books and burlesque.)
I understand that the compulsion to perform is strong and the craving for stage time is intense, and that wanting to be part of the performing community is a heart-wrenching emotion. But burlesque is still optional. You are doing it because you want to. You have something to say, whatever your style is. This is about your heart and your imagination and your soul. It's about your quality of life. You have to do it your way. You have to be the burlesque you want to see in the world.

I write this blog for free, and the blog is currently not monetized or sponsored.  have been publishing what I hope are helpful articles for free on the internet for over a decade. If you enjoyed this post or any of my previous articles, feel free to buy me a cup of coffee or a treat from my wishlist!


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