I’ve had a few people ask about this, so I’m going to start sharing here my journey on being a more naked person, literally.
I used to be a competitive dancer in high school, but a love for beer and writing through college turned me into a shorter, stouter body type and form. At 5’4″ and a very curvy shaped size 12, my Italian genetics are starting to take hold. I’m not crazy about gyms and sometimes don’t play well with others, so in order to save my body from descending into blubbery, I’ve made the only obvious choice, to become a burlesque dancer.
Sure taking off your clothes isn’t exactly cardio, unless you’re watching, but imbuing it with grace and ease, not to mention in heels, sure is a workout. And you bet the prospect of shimmying everything in front of an audience damned well got me running again.
I took an intro class for 8 weeks with Chicago’s queen of burlesque, Michelle L’Amour. The classes were fun, no pressure, and made me feel empowered and sexy, no matter how weird my hair looked or whether or not I dressed up that day. Sometimes just the way you move can change your attitude.
I didn’t really expect to be drawn in by the whole thing. I thought it’d be a fun hobby or weird work out trend for me. But I’ve met some great women over the past few months, been to as many burlesque performances as I can afford, and the tenor of the live audience, the drama of the costumes and the vaudevillian comedy of the whole thing has entranced me. It’s about sensuality and subtlety, comedy and beautiful women, most of which aren’t TV “pretty.”
Fast forward six months. I have now choregraphed and am practicing my own number and a duet to perform on December 14th, when I will take my clothes off in front of strangers and hopefully look good while doing so. If you’re in Chicago and would like to attend, the show is at Angels and Kings. You can buy tickets here.
I’ve had a few general questions about burlesque from Twitter and emails, so feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them in a future post. And if you’re a performer, how did you get into it?