Burlesque: Tricks of the Trade Part 1

If you search online, you’ll find hundreds of ‘How To’ burlesque videos, blogs, tutorials and more. Everything from tassel twirling to fan dancing and costume making, burlesquers are a creative bunch with a wealth of experience from their own work. With the DIY ethos of burlesque many are self-taught and as newcomers join the scene, they too learn for themselves.

However, there are some things that aren’t covered in the basic guides and these are the secret / weird / random titbits of useful information which have only been discovered through years of trial and error, experimenting with different ideas and techniques and sometimes by pure chance.

So here at the ABC, we’ve decided to put together a special blog series collating the very best tips and advice from burlesquers, both professional and hobbyist from around the world. We’ll have costuming tips, performance tips and much more. For our first week, we’re starting off with some of our own tips here at the ABC. Welcome to Tricks of the Trade.

Many burlesquers will swear by the old reliable tan fishnet tights. The stronger professional dance tights will provide additional lift, but even regular fishnets will even out skin tone, and cover small bruises / cellulite / scars. However, make sure they don’t have a gusset (not a good look with teeny tiny pants) and always make sure your waistband is tucked into the pants. A big wedge of fishnet above your beautiful, bejewelled undies will instantly detract from the final look. Some performers suggest cutting the waist band off (although this can often reduce the lifespan of a pair of tights, as they will fray a lot quicker). Others use safety pins or sew hooks into the inside of their pants, or even sew the tights into the pants to ensure that they stay in place.

A well-known ‘cheat’ technique in the burlesque world, relates to the positioning of one’s pasties on the boob. For those of you concerned with the perhaps less than perkiness (ie. downward trajectory) of your nipples, worry not. In the burlesque world, it’s all about the illusion and in this case it’s no different. Those in the know will tell you:
Start off with cold nips! Yes, you heard correctly; cold nipples shrink, so the areola becomes smaller when nipples are erect, instantly giving the illusion of a larger breast area and more perky nipples.  Next, apply foundation or concealer to the bottom of the areola, disguising it and meaning the pasties can be perched higher on the boob. Et voila: instant perkiness!

Tassels & concealer: a burlesquer's best friend
Make sure you pick the right size tassels for you & don’t forget that concealer

Also worth noting when it comes to nipple tassels, go for the smallest size that you can (whilst still covering that naughty area!) If you have smallish boobs and opt for pasties the size of dinner plates, it won’t do you any favours. Smaller pasties  =   larger looking boobs in comparison. Did we mention it’s all about the illusion?

That brings us to the end of our first Tricks of the Trade blog. Part 2 is now online, with special guest advice from Havana Hurricane & Aurora Winterborn. Read it here Tricks of the Trade: Part 2.