Burlesque: it’s a word of mystery which invokes images of a fantasy life of glitz and glamour, a weird and wonderful world, lying just beyond the reaches of everyday life. Wonderful? Yes. Weird? Most definitely. As a burlesquer, you often don’t stop to think just how far removed from reality some aspects of your everyday life are. So we decided to compile a list of the top 10 weird things that become part of everyday life when you’re a burlesque performer.
1. There’s the old cliché that women spend longer getting ready for a night out than they actually spend on the night out, but in burlesque this is 100% true. You can easily spend several hours preparing for one show that will only see you onstage for 10 minutes. By the time you factor in hair, makeup, rehearsal time, packing and prepping costumes and props etc you’re looking at maybe 95% of the work pre-show with the stage performance amounting to the remaining 5%. But it’s all worth it.
2. You’ll find yourself rehearsing in your living room or dance studio dressed in normal clothes, with your costume worn over the top. All fine and well – but don’t forget to take your extra pants (or ‘panties’ for our American readers) off from over the top of your trousers before you head out to the supermarket (as ABC founder Gypsy Charms will be happy to tell you from her own experience!)
3. The nipple tassels you’ve just finished gluing will take priority for drying on the radiators, out-numbering your washing which is also fighting for space to be hung up to dry. The tassels win every time.
4. You own the most beautiful, glamorous stage costumes but spend the majority of your time working from home in the daytime, generally dressed in pyjamas or comfy, casual attire; the epitomy of non-glamour.
5. You will find sequins and glitter everywhere in your life, forevermore. On the floor, in your bags, in your car, in the shower, even on your cat. No amount of hoovering will ever change this fact.
6. Your house is populated by mannequins, dressed in half-made costumes / creations. You won’t even notice they’re there anymore, but visitors will be suitably freaked-out by your still, silent flatmates.
7. The smallest inspiration can lead to days or months worth of work, with no guarantee of the outcome. A swatch of fabric or a piece of music can grab your imagination and set you on the road to an amazing new act, taking many hours of work. But you won’t truly know how the act feels or works until it’s finished, so it’s all a bit of a gamble really.
8. You have pants that go under your pants. Yup. You have several pairs of tiny pants (micro or seamless thongs generally) which you wear under your stage pants to prevent any cheeky flashes.
9. You’ll find yourself making random / inappropriate boob jokes without thinking twice about it. Boobs; they’re such a big part of our work that they will inadvertently find their way into other areas of our lives, sometimes to the discomfort / embarrassment of others around us.
10. You’ll have no problem stripping off to demonstrate tassel twirling when your mates are round for a drink. In the same way that a friend will be happy to talk about their job and describe what they do in general conversation, you won’t think twice about answering the question “But how do you get them to go different directions?” by whipping your top-off for a demonstration.
Burlesque: keeping life weird and wonderful since the 19th century.
If you enjoyed this week’s blog, we’ll be back again with more Top 10 Burlesque themed blogs soon. In the meantime, why not check out our Top 5 Reasons Why Being a Burlesque Performer Rocks.