In a continuing quest to expand my horizons, and because I always appreciate the sensual things in life, I’ve now ventured into the intriguing world of burlesque. Yes, you read it right!
“Neo-Burlesque”, to be precise.
Neo-Burlesque (or “New Burlesque”) is the revival and updating of the traditional burlesque performance. Though based on the traditional Burlesque art, the new form encompasses a wider range of performance styles; Neo-burlesque acts can be anything from classic striptease to modern dance to theatrical mini-dramas to comedic mayhem. As with the earlier burlesque, neo-burlesque is more focused on the “tease” in “striptease” than the “strip”. Audiences for neo-burlesque shows tend to be mixed gender, age, race, and class. ~ Wikipedia
Last summer, my girlfriend and I discussed partaking in either a burlesque or belly dance class ~ something provocative that would enliven our sense of femininity and nudge us from our comfort zones. As if on cue, a daily coupon special for Vivenne VaVoom’s School of Burlesque appeared in my friend’s email box. Coincidence? Perhaps. But lately, it seems that many of my experiences point in a common direction ~ one of living the Enchanted Zaftig life.
Despite our initial enthusiasm, for over 6 months the purchased coupon sat in our respective inboxes, collecting dust; for some reason, neither of us took the initiative to put it into action. I can’t attribute the hesitation to anything concrete, other than we are both single moms with full-time jobs and not a whole lot of breathing room to play. It wasn’t until the New Year rolled around that we mutually decided it was time to get our dance on.
(I should insert here that I am not a dancer. I do not possess the moves nor the skills to properly represent on the dance floor. However I AM a sensual person, so learning to burlesque is not quite as daunting as, say, hip hop might be.)
My goal going into this project is to assume a fun and positive outlook and to glean something entertaining from the experience.
Class #1: The fine art of using the feather boa as a seductive and playful tool.
Not as easy as it sounds, especially when twirling it around your leg like a snake while attempting to remain graceful. As the only students in the class that evening, my girlfriend and I stood in front of a wall of mirrors and witnessed our inadequacies while the lovely and talented Vivienne VaVoom demonstrated her technique with effortless agility. Not allowing myself any negative thoughts, I swirled and twirled and seduced that wall of mirrors with my feather boa like nobody’s business. All the while, a smile of giddiness played across my face, because, despite my lack of coordination and finesse, I was having fun with it (and, hey, burlesque performers smile and wink at their audience anyway!)
My girlfriend and I left that first class breathless from the workout and excited for the next one. I was sore for days afterwards in places I didn’t know could hurt.
Class #2: The fine art of using the chair as a performance platform.
Who knew a chair could be used in so many different ways during a burlesque performance? Not just for sitting on, but for kicking a leg up on, laying on, exposing the roundness of a thigh on, or giving the captive audience a peek at undergarments on. For this class, my girlfriend and I decided to “doll up” a bit in our appearance to make the experience more authentic (plus, it was easier on the eyes, viewing our reflections in that great wall of mirrors.) My friend even donned high heels, the brave soul, which served to accentuate her curves and give her a graceful height as she moved. It was during this time that I came to the conclusion that I do not have the body type for a proper burlesque performance ~ I am too short and stubby and round around the middle ~ but even so, I have great boobs and the determination to work my body to the best of my ability. Enthusiasm can go a long way. 🙂
We practiced throwing a foot up on our chairs so many times that evening that my hips and thighs burned. But this is how I see it: if I’m going to partake in a rigorous workout, I much prefer it to be done with lipstick on and the tune of “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” playing in the background than in a noisy, smelly gym!
Stay tuned for details of upcoming classes ~ it’s sure to become more and more interesting! (including the fine art of striptease and how to twirl those tassels!)