I received an email over the weekend from a reader asking about shows. My troupe, Music City Burlesque, gets quite a few similar emails from girls looking to do burlesque, so I thought I'd share with everyone. She writes:
I'm a burlesque dancer looking for work and I'd love some advice on getting gigs. Thanks girl!" -KatieFirst off, getting gigs is great, but it won't really count as "work." Although most shows pay, they only pay enough to maybe cover your costume materials expenses, not counting the hours of choreographing, practicing, and the time to actually craft your costume. There are a precious few dancers who make a living off burlesque, and most of those also either teach classes, in the case of Michelle L'Amour and Indigo Blue or brand themselves through books and makeup, like Dita Von Teese. The rest of us do burlesque for various reasons, but money isn't one of them. Just an aside, since I get a lot of questions about how much we make dancing. I'm assuming you're a new dancer and don't have any contacts in the business. If you're a new dancer, it's kind of hard to get out there because troupes and venues want to know what you've done. A great way to get your first show is to take classes and perform in a student showcase. That's how I got my start in burlesque, and I learned a lot from the other girls in my class as well as my teachers. Of course, you may not be in an area where that's available. If that's the case, you need to make an audition video, with your full makeup and finished routine, and finished costume. It doesn't matter if it's in your living room and the lighting quality sucks, this is to show prospective people that you're serious and have put in the time to finish a routine. Photos are always a plus even if it's just a myspace of facebook page. Are you in an area with lots of burlesque or not so much? Do a little research to see what kind of burlesque or sideshow is happening in your area. If you're lucky enough to be in a mecca of burlesque, start going to lots of shows. Dress up and talk to performers afterward if they're open to it. Don't pitch yourself, just mention that you liked their performance and see if they have a website or facebook. If you can network and meet people beforehand, you'll stand out when you send them your pitch. If you live in an area with no burlesque, don't despair! Burlesque is constantly growing and becoming more mainstream. Keep looking, and start a meetup group for those interested in burlesque. If you can find a venue, there are plenty of touring acts that you could help bring to town. If you live within driving distance of a burlesque troupe, make the trip to see one of their shows, and see if they'd be interested in coming to do a show near you. Once you've made contact with a troupe, it's time to send them your pitch. Mention you've seen their show and talked to performer X. Ask if they ever host guest performers and list all your finished routines and the accompanying music. Include links to your photos and the aforementioned video. Be courteous and willing to do anything. They may ask you to work the merchandise booth at a show or to stage kitten (picking up discarded performer clothing onstage) before asking you to perform. Booking non-burlesque shows, like opening for a band, are a little trickier. You could contact a specific venue directly or a specific band directly giving the same information you would give to a troupe. Do your research and make sure you're pitching appropriately. In other words don't pitch a classic fan dance to a pop-punk band. Keep in mind that certain states have laws about nudity in bars. In Nashville, if we perform anywhere that serves alcohol, we must wear a quarter bra (covering under boob and side boob) and full panties. If you violate that law and someone reports it, the venue, not you, gets fined. If a venue has been burned by performers not obeying the law, they may never let burlesque be performed there again, so don't take it to heart if a venue flat out refuses you because you do burlesque. Be persistent. Keep watching shows and even online videos of performances to better yourself and be more knowledgeable about the burlesque scene and how it's evolving. Get involved however you can and always be nice to everyone. This is a really small world and if you're rude or a diva, it'll be hard to get more gigs. Hope that helps my would be ecdysiasts!
I've got a travel bug this month and will be hopping around the Mid-South in May. Hope to see you at one of these events! May 6th: I'm honored to be a guest performer in Bowling Green, KY for Art of Burlesque hosted by World Famous *BOB*! May 7th: I'll be eating fire and shaking my feather fans for Lavergne High School's Prom! Unfortunately not open to the public, but should be an interesting night! May 14th: I'm pleased as punch to say I'll be performing in the Saturday Night Carnivalesque Show at the Show-Me Burlesque Festival in St. Louis, MO! I'll be there Friday night as well enjoying the show and taking in the sights! May 20th: I'll be attending (but not performing) Panty Raid's 8th Annual Tease-A-Thon Birthday Bash, hosted by Miss Astrid at Exit/In. May 25th: I have a private party I'll be entertaining with my fire tricks. June 4th or 5th: Look for Delinquent Debutantes' one year anniversary party! Right now venue and date are TBA, but I'll let you know as soon as we're locked in!
A quick, stream of consciousness on self-love:
Okay, so let's not all be narcissists, but really, we should love ourselves, naughtily and otherwise.
When you undress for the night, how do you see your body? I'm not a mainstream media body type or size, but most nights, I think "Damn, I love my sexy self!"
Does anyone else get undressed for bed and just absolutely love how their body looks without clothes on? I kind of feel like I was meant to live a naked life. It's one of the reasons burlesque is so appealing to me I guess!
It's cheesy, but in a world where advertising and most of our outside influences tell us we're not good enough, a little narcissism about superficial things like how you look, go a long way.
Sure there are things I want to change physically, I think we all want to live more active lives. But even if I don't lose a pound and only gain strength and stamina, I'll be happy. Because happy is an in-the-moment place, not somewhere in the future.
It took me a long time to get to this point. In high school I actively shunned any notion of feminity and body image. Sure I went to prom and wore a dress, but every other day was spent in an army jacket with boy-cut short hair. Of course, if you see me now I rarely wear pants. dresses and skirts make up almost all my wardrobe, and I revel in putting together costumes and cute outfits for evenings. All this to say that I used to think that image didn't matter. It's about what's on the inside right? But if you're constantly hiding who you are on the inside by rejecting people and shutting others out, how is anyone going to know? You don't have to play by their rules.
Hello ladies and lads, So I've been quiet on here but definitely not so outside the digital world. I've been wanting to engage more in burlesque community in Nashville since I moved here, and now the wonderful Bianca 13, former Chicago ballet artist and fantastic burlesque performer, and I are opening a burlesque finishing school, the Delinquent Debutantes! We will offer classes ranging from pin up poses, to choreography to ballet and yoga for burlesque as well as bachelorette parties and workshops in tassel twirling and costuming. I am beyond excited to have a one-stop for all things burlesque in Nashville, and to continue to foster and grow the community here. If you're in Nashville, please come out to our opening gala on March 27th. There'll be a burlesque bazaar and performances by our talented instructors (including moi!). 8pm at 1406 McGavock Pike, BYOB. Follow us on Twitter @DelinquentDebs! We'll post specials and follower only deals coming soon! Love and pasties, Headmistress Freya
Hello lovelies! I have a ton of burlesque shows coming up, and thought I'd let you all know the whens and wheres in case you wanted to come see me shimmy 🙂 Feb 5th and 6th I will be performing at the Dallas Burlesque Festival! This is my first fest and I'm so thrilled to be included among a great group of performers. Feb 13th I'll be joining forces with Nashville's original burlesque troupe, Panty Raid!, in their Valentines Day extravaganza at Exit/In. Feb 20th is Burlesque for Arts' Sake featuring me and some of my Music City Burlesque ladies at Studio 1406 in East Nashville. Feb 21st I'll be modeling for Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School Nashville. It's a valentine's theme, and I've got some fun props and dance up my velvet gloves. March 6th I'll be in Franklin, TN performing in The Pond's weekly variety show. Then on March 26th, Music City Burlesque is throwing our 2nd Annual Spring Break Show at the historic Belcourt Theatre. I currently working out more travel plans for burlesque-ing, with a trip to Chicago in the future, and likely a Seattle jaunt as well. If you're interested in booking me or know of any awesome shows I should go to or be in, let me know!