Burlesque isn’t for everyone. As the fourth (and final?) member of my performing troupe, it’s no secret that I wasn’t “into” burlesque when I began. I have spoken regularly on how I was tricked into the entire affair (you can read my “origin story” HERE or tune into our podcast on the subject HERE.
I don’t like sparkles and glitter. I have no idea how to do hair and make-up. I don’t like being the center of attention. I’m generally pretty anti-social and a giant prude. Don’t believe me? I lived on a tropical island for nearly 16 years and my go-to swimsuit of choice was a neck-to-wrist, all-black, full rash guard/wetsuit, even at high noon in full-sun. Plus, I don’t own a pair of shorts or a dress or skirt that reaches above the knee. For all intents and purposes, it makes no sense that I am a burlesque performer. Yet, here we are.
I’ve been pondering this juxtaposition for years now and I thought I would elaborate on why burlesquers burlesque (yes, I’m making up words now, too) and why you should DEFINITELY NOT try burlesque. Here are the top 10 reasons why I believe you should never try burlesque:
- You will feel confident about your body. Aren’t we supposed to hate the wiggle and jiggle? If you loathe your body and like it that way, then definitely avoid burlesque. All this body positivity, inclusiveness, and genuine love of the human form in all forms can really do a number on those preconceived notions of body ideals.
- Random strangers will praise you endlessly. If you are not a fan of genuine praise and support, then do not try burlesque dance. From the audience to your fellow performers, the compliments, kudos, and literal applause will not stop. It’s pretty annoying.
- You might break-up or get a divorce. Burlesque has a way of showing you how incredible you really are and in turn, that could make you realize how incredibly unworthy your partner is. Don’t be surprised if the stage lights illuminate more than just your awesome costume.
- You might quit your job. Your boring boss, water cooler chatter, stressful commute, yet another meeting that could have been an email vs lights, costumes, standing ovations, and dancing with friends? Tough choice. You might not risk the change, but after Burlesque you will know the taste of opportunity, something that will definitely sour your normal 9-5.
- You will make new friends. Who has time for that? Ug! And finding friends who have similar interests beyond just work? What a drag! Imagine having to say “happy birthday” to more people or comment on pictures you’re in on social media. Nightmare!
- You might uncover a new interest. Burlesque is full of discovery—different forms of dance, acting, music, comedy. Who knows where the rabbit hole of your creativity will lead? How will you manage all that possibility when there is most certainly laundry to be done? Better keep it safe and avoid Burlesque altogether.
- You might develop unhealthy shopping habits. How many corsets are too many and do you really need another eyeshadow palette? Burlesque will open you up to a whole new world of what constitutes a business write-off or an “essential” purchase. Be careful!
- You’ll have to get a sense of humor. When did the beautiful ballet of Swan Lake become a dying chicken parody? What madness is this? A sexy cow? Conjoined twins? Performing (and watching) Burlesque means embracing your silly side—slapstick comedy, improv, parody, satire—all are represented and encouraged in burlesque. And the last thing we want is more laugh lines!
- You might get in shape. Fitness is supposed to be grueling and boring. Why would you want to get stronger and happier while also having fun? That’s not how this is supposed to work. Now go run a mile!
- You might learn something. About your interests or yourself, Burlesque teaches you a lot. It’s nearly impossible to leave the stage without learning (or *shudder* feeling) something new about yourself. Is that a risk you’re willing to take?
You see what I mean? Burlesque sneaks up on you until WHAM! There you are, on stage, and loving every minute. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!