Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How can I learn about burlesque on my own?

Oh my lovelies, our poor burlesque expert, Elsa Sjunneson, has had a brutal summer. When we first met our resident burlesque expert she had just completed her Master's degree in Women's History. But what would be the fun in stopping there?  No, no, Elsa dedicated her summer to meeting deadlines for her thesis.

Because she rocks.

I've missed her terribly and am so happy to welcome her back to NPJ for more truth about the burlesque arts.

1) Get your read on! The Burlesque Handbook by Jo "Boobs" Weldon is great! She's written a book that teaches everything from the basics of movement, down to how to make pasties and book yourself shows.

book cover image via Harper Collins

2) Take in a movie! A Wink and a Smile by Deirdre Allen Timmons is a film about the Seattle Academy of Burlesque. It's streaming on Netflix, and, while it won't teach you how to perform, it'll teach you about the challenges involved in learning!

3) Go to a school!  All across the country there are burlesque schools, there's the Seattle Academy, the New York Academy, The Richmond Institute of Burlesque, Studio L'Amour in Chicago, and many many more! Just poke around and your city will probably have something for you to take!

4) Watch YouTube. If you search for the 2011 Burlesque Hall of Fame, you will find videos of incredible acts and performances from all over the world, which you can learn from.

5) Find a show in your town! Go watch people perform, support the community financially, and enjoy the art form!

Gentry Lane, posing for a photo shoot, is behind one of Paris’s newest burlesque series.

6) Go to BURLYCON in Seattle! Burlycon is an event every year where the community comes together to teach each other about the art form we all love and perform in. This year I'm teaching four classes (FOUR!) and I'm really excited about it!

Something I've discovered is that a lot of people think that just because they've taken a burlesque class means they have to go ahead and perform professionally While I think performing can be a lot of fun, I think sometimes people should just take the class and learn about their bodies. I'm not saying you CAN'T go play with the pros, but that if you're not 100% confident in it, or if you had originally just wanted to take the class for yourself, or for your husband, or your boyfriend, you don't have to go further than that. Make burlesque as fun as you want it to be, and make it about YOU and you'll always have fun while you're dancing! '

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