Welcome back to the Academy of Burlesque & Cabaret’s Tricks of the Trade blog. Each week, we offer advice and tips on burlesque; everything from costuming, to acts, to music to secret suggestions and ideas from burlesque performers around the world. This week we welcome guest performer advice from two British burlesque beauties.
Leeds-based Havana Hurricane has been making a name for herself on the UK scene since 2011. Whipping up a storm wherever she goes, she’s a whirlwind of bump n’ grind energy. In 2013 she appeared at both the New York Burlesque Festival and the New Orleans Burlesque festival and was voted number 12 in 21st Century Burlesque Magazine’s UK Burlesque Top 20.
Havana says “My utmost performer tip would be to be yourself. Don’t try to be who you think you need to be or to be what people want you to be to succeed in the burlesque industry. People will warm to you, appreciate you and respect you for you and your work will speak for itself if when the audience see that you have put your heart and soul into it. Be polite, friendly and real to who you are.”
Wise words indeed. In fact when I first met Havana in 2012 I was struck by her incredibly friendly, bubbly personality and the excitement and energy she emanated onstage.
Next up we have Edinburgh’s own Aurora Winterborn. Her show ‘Candid Cabaret’ has been a Fringe Festival regular for several years, always garnering excellent reviews. She’s also noted for her fabulous double-acts with burlesque partner-in-crime Poppy La Pilule. Aurora has a number of pieces of advice from her experience in the world of burlesque:
1.Always keep glitter in a secure container! It is a nightmare to eliminate once it has exploded all over your bag!
2. If you have never performed somewhere before, it is always worth finding out as much as you can about the stage you are performing well in advance so that there are no nasty surprises when you arrive! And it means you time to adjust your act and adapt if necessary.
3. Always prepare for worst case scenarios of things that can go wrong during your act so that you can remain as professional as possible when the inevitable one day happens. There’s nothing worse than a performer who does not know how to deal with a mistake appropriately and professionally. The show must go on!
4. You have the right to a safe stage on which to perform. If you feel in any way your safety is compromised, make sure the stage manager deals with appropriately. If they do not, then you have the right to not perform. Do not feel forced. However, remember to be calm and professional about it. Don’t be a diva! It is always worth having a contract that covers this aspect. It’s always particularly important to have a contract when you are working with a promoter for the first time. It lets you set the professional standard which you expect.
That brings us to the end of this week’s Burlesque Tricks of the Trade. Many thanks to Aurora and Havana for their great advice. Join us again for more secret tips from the burlesque community.
If you have any burlesque tips of your own please do get in touch, we would love to hear from you.
If you missed Part 1 of our Tricks of the Trade series, check it out here: Tricks of the Trade: Part 1.