My, oh my does the time fly! Even though I attended my first burlesque class several weeks ago, I haven’t had a chance to sit still long enough to write out my experiences. Let me fix that right now.
I am smack dab in the middle of a six week Introductory Burlesque class taught by the famed and fabulous Indigo Blue of Miss Indigo Blue’s Academy of Burlesque. In six weeks, I’ll not only learn a bit about the history of burlesque, I’ll also create a character, craft my very own burlesque routine, and perform it in public at two shows in the Seattle area! I’m not a performer by nature so that last part makes me slightly nervous. On the other hand, I’m super excited about trying something new. After all, what better hobby for a Lingerie Addict than burlesque?
The first class was all about fundamentals. We discussed the political origins of burlesque and learned that it used to be a form of protest art performed exclusively by men in response to people who abused their power (such as government officials). Later, in the mid-1800’s, women adopted burlesque as a way to critique traditional ideas of sexuality and gender. Unlike those other famous female performers, ballet dancers, burlesque artists invoked meaning through puns, winks, innuendo, and laughter. They defied notions of what it meant to be a “good girl” and put their bodies on public display, eventually resulting in disapproval and outright condemnation.
Burlesque has never really been fully legal, but as more sexualized dancing became available (i.e. strip clubs), so too did burlesque. The early 1990’s saw a burlesque revival and Neo-Burlesque took center stage with the creation of events like Tease-o-Rama and the worldwide popularity of artists like Dita von Teese. Now, there are thriving burlesque scenes all over the world and the movement shows no signs of stopping.
After this brief history, the class spent some time discussing character names and how to pick one. Indigo Blue emphasized that our character’s name was an important part of setting her personality. Was she a coquette? A seductress? A vixen? A good name could convey any, or even all, of that. I struggled with finding the perfect name for my as-yet-undeveloped character. Tipper Velvet? No, too perky. Alanna Monroe? No, too bland. Cocoa Velvet? No, too unsophisticated.
Finally, with the assistance of my good friend K. and Yahoo’s Babelfish, I found the perfect name…Velvet La Soie. I’ll introduce you to her later on this week.