Alot of Burlesque (in my very humble opinion) has to do with imagination; whats your story!? And how does it consequently play out! You need to use yours and make the audience use theirs in order to create something worth watching; something that is entertaining!! A formula we like to use when explaining how to create a fantabulous Burletta of yer very own is the ole’ set up, build up, and pay off. You want to create expectation, build tension, and then resolve your story with the biggest bang possible (this usually involves boobs..SHA-POW my friends.. shhhaaaa-pow!!) In the last few years we have used this formula when creating short sketches to be slotted between acts; the Bananas being a regular feature but we have also tried other characters. Usually we will have a reoccurring scene happening about three times throughout the show; the first two being shorter in length involving just one gag or a reoccurring gag. Either of these will then escalate during the third scene. A set that I have particular fondness for are the Bugs!! I swear we must have been really really high on life when we decided that this was clearly the funniest thing we had ever thought of. I really enjoyed this set!!! This was party because of how silly the characters were. They were so much fun to play! I’m serious!! Go ahead and act like a bug for 2 minutes and see how happy it makes you!! The scenes featured myself, Sister Madly and Whats-Her-Name as a Bee, a Lady Bug and I guess a Stink-Bug?? You'll see what I mean. The first 2 sets were short and featured happy bug dancing with terror from a lawn mower at the end. The lawn mower was our reoccuring gag within each dance. I'm not quite sure it really came across but maybe if I let you in on that detail you'll understand what the eff we are doing!!!!
The other reason I feel warm feelings in my heart about these skits involves the choreography; I honestly do not know what this style of dance is called? I call it “wocka-wocka” dancing. Its basically influenced by what I think comedic or soft shoe dancing at a Vaudeville show looked like. Something I can only reference by what I’ve seen in cartoons, on the muppets or in Musicals. I would love to know and learn more about what it is I think I’m doing!!! The closest I’ve seen to it would’ve been at this years BHOF on Legends night when Rubber Legs performed! Oooooohhhh myyy gooodd!!!! I can’t even describe it!! It was basically a comedic dance where he was pretending to be drunk but was dancing in the most amazing way. Almost spilling his beer, spinning it around!! I can’t describe it- I just can’t! I have never seen anything like it ever!!! The closest I can find on youtube is Joe Frisco, who was an American vaudeville performer.
I seriously want to do this!!! . As far as I can tell, this is what early jazz dance looked like; Strange to think of its evolution between this and what I knew as Jazz dance aka the 80s. I’ve also found some super neat clips of the dance duo Al and Leon from around that same era! It's making me think that if I take some Lindy Hop classes, I might have a better idea where I want to go with this.
I honestly have the goal of trying to do a comedy number that emulates this style and doing it really well and having it be super high energy. I want to be someone who is cool enough to do a tribute number to Rubber Legs one day! I guess I will just have to stalk the shit out of him at next years BHOF haha! Until then, I leave you with the bugs; which is definitely less technically adept but hopefully silly enough to compare on the fun scale!
My adventures in Burlesque Choreography!