How do I become a burlesque dancer?!

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Everyone's path is different, but they all have one thing in common: Dedication.

Burlesque is a DIY (do it yourself) scene. There is no audition or manager to hire you. Every act you see on the Burly Q Lounge stage (and 90% of other burlesque shows) are indivulal artists who  came up with a concept, then costumed, choreographed, and booked it in a show . Sometimes that is sewing the costume themselves, sometimes that is getting it made by a seamstress. Either way, they created a piece of performance art, then sent the videos to producers around the country to get it booked on a stage. 

There are no "gatekeepers" in burlesque. You, and you alone, are how you become a burlesque dancer. 

Where do I start?!

Start by going to your local shows. This is the single most important thing you can do. Google "Burlesque show in (insert your city)" or ask Facebook or Twitter "does anyone know of burlesque shows in my city?". Even the smallest towns often have multiple burlesque producers. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how many shows are out there! 

Check out each show at least once. There are SO MANY KINDS of burlesque. Saying "I love burlesque" is like saying "I love music shows". Ok, do you love Garth Brooks or Gwar or Kay Perry or what?! Burlesque is an art from, but the genres and executions vasty vary!  There is: 

  • "Classic" burlesque (Vegas /Dita Von Teese/ vintage style shows)
  • Metal-esque (heavy metal)
  • Nerd-lesque (pop culture, anime, sci-fi, comic book style) 
  • Grotesque (horror movie style)
  • and too many more to name! 

Checking out many types of shows will allow you to find what speaks to you. You just might fall in love with a whole new style! 

I found a show I like! Now what?!

Great! 

  • If they have social media accounts, follow them. This will give you a broader range of their style, what types of performances they book, the frequency of their shows, and who is running them. 
  • Go to a few shows as an audience member. Not only is this fun, but you can also see more acts! Nothing sucks more than working on an act for months, only to find out it's too similar to another performance to be booked. This will also give you a chance to meet the performers. Introduce yourself and let them know what you liked about their act! This will make it much more likely they remember you in the future. 
  • Next, email or message the producer or host asking if they need any stage hands or 'stage kittens'. "Stage kittens" are the people you've been seeing pick up the costumes after each performance! This is a great way to meet people and get a feel for back stage, production, and more. Most performers you've seen on stage started as 'kittens' and worked their way up. 
  • This is also a great time to ask if they know of any burlesque classes or workshops. Classes are a great way to get one-on-one time with the performers and get real world advice on becoming a burlesque dancer. If your chosen production doesn't need stage hands or kittens, don't fret. At least you tried and they'll appreciate the offer of help. 

I have an idea for an act. Now what?!

Now make it! That's truly all there is to it. It sounds intimating, but if you've followed the above steps, it's a lot easier! You'll have so many ideas floating around in your head! All those creative juices will totally cancel out the intimidation. Now, it's time to pick your music, make a costume, and choreograph your act. There are more detailed blogs about all these things. Just google to your hearts content and make your magic! 

I made the act!

Wonderful! Now it's time to film it and email it to the show's producer. Cell phone video from your living room is fine. Just be honest in your email, mention that this is your first act, how long you've been following their show, why you think it would be a good fit and (most importantly) "If you have any notes on the act, I would appreciate it. I know I'm new but am excited about learning how to be a great burlesque performer." 

Here's the thing. That last part has to be true. Getting a critique is HARD. But it's the only way to learn and improve. You may need to do this several times, adjusting and re-filming with each email before getting on a stage. But dedication and perseverance always win. 

What about my burlesque name?

This is very important. If you have an idea for your burlesque name, Google it! If you want to name yourself, oh, I don't know, "KiKi Maroon". Do the following searches:

  • KiKi Maroon
  • KiKi Maroon 
  • KiKi Maroon burlesque
  • KiKi Maroon burlesque dancer
  • KiKi Maroon artist
  • Maroon KiKi

Then do the same searches as above with different spellings (i.e. "KeKe Maroon", "KeyKey Maroon", KiiKii Maroon", etc.) 

Nothing says "I don't take this seriously" as emailing a producer with a name that's already established. It would be like starting a new band and naming it Metallica. Good luck getting gigs with that name! 

That's it! I hope this was helpful. I can't wait to see you on stage!

xoxo, 

KiKi Maroon