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Get Your Act Together, Part 1

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So, you have your music. You have your idea of the character and style for your act. Now what? Get Your Act Together

I like to start with my costume. I will draw, not very well, the costume that I want to make and then break down the layers and plan the removals.

Get Your Act Together, Part 1

Base layer – nude thong & nude fishnets. I won’t remove this layer. I like to wear a nude thong for extra coverage, be it so small but just enough to keep me from feeling ” naked”. I am not naturally comfortable being naked. I have learned to become more confident but still like that extra layer of fabric & fishnets between me and the world. This is a personal choice. You can wear or not wear whatever you want. That’s one of the best parts of burlesque, you decide what YOU want.

1st layer – for me this means the final look for the end of the act, the big finish  Pasties, panties & a smile. I like to make my pasties. There are great tutorials on YouTube and Pinterest. They are an easy DIY that allows you to customize the size, look and design. For the panties, adding fringe, rhinestones and appliques are easy ways to upgrade a simple pair of panties and turn them into a burlesque costume. When I am on stage, I like to feel that  I am wearing a fabulous costume and not just dancing in my underwear. AND don’t get me wrong, I LOVE dancing around in my underwear. It is more about enhancing my confidence and honestly customizing your costume is part of the fun of performing burlesque.

2nd layer – This can mean a  bra, corset, gloves, stockings, body harness, you get the idea. This is the layer you are removing before the final big reveal. Have fun with it. A corset can be a sexy removal and there are so many different types of corsets. One of the reasons I like to decide on my costume before I start the choreography is because your costume will affect how you dance. Same thing with your shoes. I am not great dancing in heels and the height of my high heel will determine what I am able to do well. Or if you want to remove a stocking and need to take your shoe off first, maybe those sexy heels that lace up your calf aren’t the best option because they take 5mins to take off. Things to think about when planning.

3rd layer – I like to think of this layer as the first big clothing removal. Removing a glove or unbuttoning a shirt, unzipping the back of your dress. The start of the ” tease”. Once again, this can be whatever you want, it’s giving the audience just a taste of what’s to come. You want the audience to get excited and want more and like all good things, they have to wait for it .

4th layer – What am I starting in. This is the top layer of your costume and the first thing the audience will see you in. You will also have ALL the other layers on underneath and how does that look and feel. Let your character or your stage persona shine in the look. Have fun. Go over the top. Be the rhinestone show girl or your dreams. Or the dark sexy S&M mistress in latex & leather. Or in a hotdog costume with a side of fries or as a Chicken pretending to be a Swan ( shameless plug for my Dying Chicken act )

Your hair and makeup, jewelry and accessories are another part of the recipe to complete your look. Are you wearing a wig & a hat, make sure that the hat still fits when you have the wig on. I made this mistake the day of the show once, with my wig on my bowler hat no longer fit.

Trying out a crazy new eye makeup, do a test run beforehand. Get an idea of what works and doesn’t BEFORE you are back stage an hour from curtain still trying to make the eyelash glue stick.

Ok. You are all set. Now all you have to do is make your costume, practice your Act and get on stage.

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.

Lily O Lei, “The Tropical Princess of Burlesque”, is an island girl with passion on her mind, ocean waves in her heart, and sailing in her blood. Lily excels at bringing character and charisma to all of her performances. As one of the leading creative forces behind Cabaret & Cocktails, and an outstanding soloist on her own, she has performed across the island of Maui and beyond.

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