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How to Become a Burlesque Performer

How to Become a Burlesque Performer

In our recent podcast, Episode 021. Q, T, & A with Bourbon Layne, a very important question was posed: How do you become a Burlesque Dancer/Performer?

What an awesome question!

Many of you know my origin story, but not all of us can be tricked into performing. Some of you are genuinely looking for a creative outlet and a peek into the world of Burlesque. Let me help you!

If you are seriously interested in what Burlesque might have to offer you, I recommend the following:

1. Find a class. Check out the local papers, fitness studios, pole dancing studios, aerial arts facilities, and more. Someone somewhere has a Burlesque class. And if they don’t, maybe you want to start one!

If you are looking into Burlesque class options, I would definitely recommend one that was a series of at least 4-8 classes. Why? Because it’s going to feel awkward as shit the first time someone tells you to shimmy and slowly peel off a glove while looking at yourself seductively in the mirror. AWKWARD!

Truth is, you might need some time to get into your body and out of your head, plus you’ll be in a room full of like-minded individuals who also feel weird. Instant friends!

2. Find a group. Not every city in every nation has a Burlesque troupe. Shame. When this is the case, I highly recommend using Facebook.

I will be the first to admit that I HATE Facebook, but it is invaluable when it comes to community events and business contacts. And that’s what’s happening here. You are looking for a community of Burlesquer performers in your area. Maybe you can take a road trip for a class, or maybe you can invite someone for a guest instructor training at your local gym, or maybe you will get a chance to watch a performance or go to an open audition! There really are a ridiculous amount of options.

3. When in doubt, google it. Ah, Google. How do I love thee? Just type in “Burlesque near me” and poof!

You can also get more specific with types of burlesque: “Boylesque near me” or “Gorelesque near me” or…there really are a ridiculous amount of sub-genres.

You can also type “Burlesque class near me.” It totally works!

4. Create an act. If you are already familiar with burlesque and the performing arts, then you might not need to immediately seek out help. The main benefit of a Burlesque class or series is that they will teach you the basics and help you craft an act.

But if you already have an idea of what you want to do on stage, your next step is to find a venue or outlet. If you are a solo performer, then you might consider an agent, or approaching a theatre that has a similar style—an Aerial Dance company might be interested in your Aerial Burlesque act, for example.

If you are more of a novice, then look for open act nights or smaller shows that welcome the novice performer (after an audition). You’d be surprised what you find. Also, see #2. Once you get in the “scene,” the rest will fall into place.

The point is if you want to become a Burlesque performer then do it! There is literally nothing stopping you except you. Case in point:

  • But I’m an introvert! Yeah, me too…hardcore, but I still perform solo and group acts. Next!
  • But it’s expensive! Is it? One of my most popular acts was made with a cardboard box and basic paint and construction paper. I literally dumpster-dove that costume. Next!
  • But I don’t know how! Yeah…no one is born knowing how to twirl a fan or rhinestone a thong. We all learn somewhere, somehow, sometime. Next!
  • But what if I mess up? Ha! You will…eventually. Definitely. And you know what? No one cares. If anything, they will cheer you on more. And bonus, making mistakes makes you a stronger performer, not a loser. Next!
  • But, but, but… If its and buts were candy and nuts, then we’d all have a damn fine day. I don’t know what that means, but basically, do the thing.

What’s stopping you?

Bourbon Layne, “A Warm Shot of Burlesque Whiskey”. Bourbon Layne is the most mysterious member of Cabaret & Cocktails. She’s sinfully sultry with a steamy sense of humor. She’ll wrap around you like a warm shot of burlesque whiskey, and leave you drunk and wanting more. Bourbon has a unique creative outlook and comes with an impressive aerial background to Cabaret & Cocktails.

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