1. InspirationPhoto by Pin-Upz and Burlesque
I don’t know if you are aware, but you are creative. You are an artist even! Maybe you are lacking the audacity to name yourself as a creative, but let me tell you something, you can Burlesque! We can help you! Presenting itself to you, at this very moment, is an opportunity to create something. Opportunity equals inspiration and inspiration feels so good!
2. Challenges!Photo by Heather Vince
Now this opportunity is going to challenge you in a lot of different ways. Exciting! Burlesque is extremely self directed which means you are responsible for your entire product; you are the visionary behind it all! You will be the director, the story teller, the dancer, the choreographer, and the costumer. Its up to you and even if you are great at some of it, you might not be as strong at all of it. Here is where you have more opportunity to develop skills you might not have otherwise. Rise up! Challenges can be fun.
3. Creative ControlPhoto by Pin Up Perfection Photography
It's yours. You can have as little or as much help as you want or need. Guidance is available and is recommended, however, this is your baby! In other performance art, you are often the vessel for other people’s work. You dance the choreographers vision- you act the writers story, you play it all out as long as the director approves. But Burlesque? This is all you baby!
4. Coming To Terms With Your BodyPhoto by Drew May Photography
“I could never be naked in front of people!!!?” Why not? What is so wrong with your naked body? We all have ideas about who can be naked and if you really really really think about it, they don’t necessarily make any sense. Where did those ideas came from and who benefits from you thinking this way? If you do the unthinkable, you’ll be one step closer to freedom from those ideas. What other things can you do that you didn’t think you could do?
5. Everybody's Body!Photo by April O'Peel
When you are ok with your body, you are helping other people be ok with their bodies. Its that part about being the change you wish to see in the world. It's actually that easy.
6. Doing The Unthinkable Makes You Think!Photo by Frankie Panky
Maybe the reason you can’t be naked is because you think that people who dance naked are “bad.” But if you dance naked, and you aren’t “bad”, maybe they aren’t “bad” either. Does association with nudity and sex really make someone “bad?”
7. I am Woman! See me Create! See me have Power! Photo by Alex Waber Photography
This art form is dominated by women creating, performing and producing. Not so long ago, women in most creative forms were discouraged from particpating. Check out THIS rejection letter from Disney from the 40s.
Women need art just as much as art needs women because its important that everyone’s story be told. Burlesque is one way to tell women’s stories and Burlesque allows women to share what they think is sexy, funny, glamourous, and exciting.
8. You Sexy Thang! Photo by Tina Limu
Have you always wanted to be sexy? Did you already know that you are? Here is an opportunity and a medium for you to express that. Don’t be shy- explore, play, feel safe. Your audience will love you for it.
9. You are Hilarious! Photo by Greg McKinnon
Have you ever wanted to be funny? Have you always been? Are you interested to being part of new genre of comedy? One that is being propelled by women? Burlesque+Comedy=Awesome!!
10. We can Change the Culture of Dance! Photo by Wedo Photo
Dancing is important for community and for people to express themselves. Dancing feeds the soul. Currently, performance by dancing in Western culture isn’t very accessible. High class art is considered "high", because it isn’t financially accessible for all classes of people. Only those who can afford lessons and extensive training from a very young age might be able to make it as a dancer. The other commonality we hear is that dancing is for thin women only. If you do not fit this mold, forget about it. You can/will never be enough and more likely than not, you will be too much. Perpetuating a standard of exclusion where only certain styles of dance and bodies are valuable doesn’t help anyone. Burlesque calls bullshit. Burlesque lets everyone play. Burlesque doesn’t give a hoot about what body shape you have or your background, just that your audience is entertained.
11. Variety is the Spice of Life Photo by Sparkle Plenty
Humans are diverse. There IS room for everyone and Burlesque encompasses this. You can take your background and talents and meld them into the form to create something uniquely you. There is a common denominator (which is striptease) but other than that? There is no right way. And unique you makes our community that much richer!! Join us won’t you!?
Our next session of Becoming Burlesque starts Sept 18th! Email Melody Mangler today at firstname.lastname@example.org and get started on your Burlesque journey!! More info HERE
If anyone ever asks me about trying a new style and being concerned about their branding, I can’t ever tell them to stick to what they know. Maybe its better from a marketing standpoint but I think if what you represent is quality then you shouldn’t bar yourself from trying anything! I have had a very rewarding career thanks to my willingness to try everything and anything that I haven’t already. It brings me a lot of joy to succeed at things I didn’t know I could be good at- and has been the BEST way for me to learn.
This being said, I hadn’t done a fan dance. This, ladies and gentlemen, was my first! The largest barrier to this being that fans are usually quite costly so this became a project that would have to be something I waited and saved and worked towards. I am happy to say that I am so proud of what I have created and it was so fulfilling to see those months and months of dreams and ideas come together.
This act came to be because I think its tres hilarious that I want every bird to be my hat. BE MY HAT!! Obviously your feathers aren’t for flying.. no no.. they are for my hat. I worked up from this concept that I could create an act around feather theft. My dreams coming true.
I was also inspired by several iconic photos I had found in my research of Lily St Cyr and her Leda and the Swan act. Apparently this was a very popular type of act! I found pictures of Sally Rand, Rose La Rose and Faith Arlen all performing their version of Leda and the Swan. The story of Leda and the Swan have been a very popular means for inspiration in Burlesque and other art for years and years! It is a greek myth that tells the tale of Zeus seducing Leda in the form of a Swan. There are so many classical paintings of this story! Apparently this is because in the 16th century it was, confusingly, more socially acceptable to show a woman copulating with a swan than with a man. Ok then..
This piece has also been inspired by watching the legendary Kitten Deville work her magic with her fans (thanks youtube)! There is definitely something to be said about not having heavy, giant staves; you get to be much wilder with your movements! This relates better to what my vision of “sexy” is. I prefer to feel untamed but I do hope that by showcasing my dance background, the piece still had a certain amount of grace.
This piece was performed at Burlesque Long Form- My first go at producing a large scale event by myself. I was so happy with the turnout and people, let me tell you- you get what you pay for! Hiring the city’s best, whom I could trust implicitly to create something magical, was the best decision I could have made. This show came to be because I was so impressed watching Dita Von Teese and her accompanying acts Angie Pontani and Ava Garter during their tour in Seattle some years back. I was really impressed that they only needed 4 people (including awesome host Murray Hill) to put on a killer show. The idea of doing a 10 minute act seemed absolutely impossible to me at the time but I never forgot about their ability to entertain for an entire 10 minutes.
This act went really well in my mind for a first showing on stage. There are a few snafus (stupid leg ribbon of stupidness), but overall I am very pleased with the concept and execution. I was even happy with how I recovered from the issues that arose on stage. I feel (hope!) that I have managed to combine classic with comedy to create something uniquely April. I am in the process of editing the number to be under 4 minutes but in the meantime, I hope you will enjoy my version of Leda and the Swan. :)
My adventures in Burlesque Choreography!