The Top 10 Things You Cannot Live Without When You Burlesque

Working in burlesque can be a hectic job; dashing from one show to the next, or from class to show and you’ll quickly learn to pack smart and only take what you need. Obviously costumes and props can be bulky (as your overflowing wardrobe / costume room will testify to!) but once you’ve packed all your costume and act essentials, what else are you going to need? Here at the ABC we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 things you cannot live without when you burlesque; useful things, some of which are obvious, others less so, but they are without a doubt, things we can’t live without!

10. Safety pins – handy little things, especially for solving last-minute, pre-show costume malfunctions.

9. Hair styling products – another essential ingredient. Whether you’re a fan of heated rollers, prefer curling tongs or something else entirely, your barnet will need to be quaffed and styled to the max for optimum impact onstage. Don’t forget your hairspray and backcombing brush for the finishing touches.

8. Makeup bag – an absolute must-have for showgirls and burlesquers alike, this treasure trove of magical items is a key part of the transformation from girl next door to sizzling, siren of the stage. If you’re just starting out, try asking professional burlesquers backstage if you get the chance, for advice and tips on the bet products for creating different effects.

7. Travel mirror – incredibly useful, especially for those less-than-well-equipped venues where you might end up changing in a closet or wine cellar (oh, the glamour!) Also handy for checking your tassels are on straight and for doing the ‘pants & bum’ check – making sure your fishnets aren’t sticking out the top of your g-string.

6. False eyelashes – most burlesquers we know swear by their false eyelashes. Bigger is better, you want dazzling, eye-catching beauties which bring out your eyes under the stage lights.

5. Tit tape – an obvious one, if you want to stick your pasties / tassels on (we recommend this over eyelash glue, another option, which tends to leave nasty residue on the backs of your pasties.) However, can also come in handy for fixing minor costume mishaps temporarily, if the aforementioned safety-pin suggestion doesn’t work.

4. Nude fishnet tights – we’ve mentioned these in a previous blog, but we simply can’t emphasise just how useful they can be. From hiding bruises and other unsightly marks, to improving the shape of your bum with the added lift that dance tights can give, it’s always handy to have a pair in your case.


3. Suitcases / travel bags – well, you’re going to need something to put everything in aren’t you? It’s useful to have at least a couple of different ones of different sizes, so you don’t always have to drag around a mammoth suitcase if your costume is small enough to fit in an overnight bag instead.

2. Your costumes – it wouldn’t be much of a show without these. For most burlesquers their costumes are their pride and joy; a labour of love and many hours work, so it’s worth trying to keep them in good shape; always try to unpack / tidy / hang up items that crease as soon as you can when you get home after a show. If you can establish some kind of system in your cupboard / costume room, it can make it a lot easier than having to dig through miscellaneous bags / boxes / suitcases in search of one tiny, missing item.

1. Your reputation – without this you won’t go far. Burlesque is, as we have stated before, a tight-knit community in the UK so try to build yourself a good reputation and keep it, by being friendly, professional and prompt and leaving the diva at the door. The longer you’re on the scene, the more you’ll find your reputation precedes you, so make sure people are hearing the best about you, and not about your lateness / questionable attitude or other such negatives.

So we reach the end of our latest top 10. We welcome your comments; if you have any ideas or tips for things that would be on your own top 10 list of things you can’t live without, we’d love to hear them.
If you enjoyed this week’s top 10, check out some of our previous blogs in this series:

The Top 10 Useful Skills & Traits You’ll Need if You Want to Succeed in Burlesque

The Top 10 Most Extravagant Burlesque Props

The Top 10 Weird Things That Become Part of Everyday Life when you Burlesque