Sunday, 25 March 2018

Burlesque for Beginners

 As the song goes…. ‘Where do you go to my lovely …. ?’

Traditional Burlesque 

So you have a lovey outfit, fab shoes and a fashionable hairdo, the next question is where to go to show them off.
My enjoyment comes from going out to venues and places such as restaurants, night clubs, concerts and dances.

Living in the South West of the UK we have to drive for at least an hour in any direction for a nice venue, so a night out is an important event and quite a commitment.
We often try to tie some shopping in with a visit to the cinema, ballet or theater with a meal to round off the night.

Dawn - enjoying a Burlesque show

Getting dressed up for a lovely night out with friends is a great experience and just having a meal is something just about anyone can do. It just takes a little positive thinking to take the first step and you soon realise that you are just another paying customer and there is no big deal.
I frequently use the Pizza Express chain as they seem to have a very supportive policy towards TG individuals, not that I’ve ever looked up their policy, but from visiting numerous venues all over the country. I have always been treated with respect and exactly like all the other customers. (Which is exactly how it should be!)

Going to the cinema or theater are also great venues to visit as you can spend the night out in a nice outfit whilst enjoying the latest production with minimal interaction with others unless you want to.  
We have been to various venues all over the UK to see shows and ballets and on occasions have struck up conversations with people sitting next to us about a whole range of subjects. Chances are that you’ll never meet them again but have shared the event and connected with them on different levels.

However our favorite event for a fun night out is a ‘Burlesque’ show!
We are very lucky in that there is a high quality Burlesque venue in the South West that holds shows every few weeks, attracting some of the best dancers in the world who perform some wonderful dances that titivate and tantalize, with out being smutty.

The Performance - Its All About Titivation

So, what is Burlesque I hear you ask….
Burlesque has its origins in the music halls and vaudeville theater houses where short sketches were needed to entertain the patrons during the resetting of the stage in between acts, and keep the audience from becoming impatient.

So a saucy, humorous art form developed which has progressed to encompass political satire, acrobatics, classical ballet and a host of other skills whilst seductively removing clothing with out becoming crude. 

The dances are all unique and loosely follow a basic form in how the clothes are removed, then discarded, how each body part is displayed, ending in the grand ‘reveal’.
Its often humorous, and may have some slapstick thrown in for good measure. There is a classical style which employs the use of ostrich feather fans and seductive posing that is enchanting to watch.

Outfits can be outrageous - Violet Chanchki 
The audience that attends these events are often very keen to participate in the event by dressing the part. A mixture of ‘Betty Page’, rock-a-Billy, 1950’s retro styles, coupled with steam punk, top hat and tails or jazz band bowlers tend to reflect the ‘anything goes’ attitude to the events.  Transgender is just part of the flavor of the evening and often well supported by all. The burlesque crowed are generally supportive of anything ‘alterative in nature’, and non-judgmental of others.

Audience Participation is Expected !! 
The idea of Burlesque incorporates something along the lines of the French ‘Mullion Rouge’ night club with corsets, stockings and feathers are seen in abundance both on and off the stage. It’s a place to see and be seen ! Often the audiences’ outfits can outshine the acts!!
The performers work hard to keep their acts fresh so often display new material, with more outrageous and inventive costumes which they find more adventurous ways of removing whilst on stage.
Classical burlesque is very stylish – as an example -

The expectation of a burlesque show requires active participation by the audiences, and include whooping, cheering clapping and stamping of feet when the performers discard an article of apparel or performs a cheeky action that titivates the crowd.

Yes - you get to see a lot of flesh -But its in the best possible taste ! 
There are a few drag performers who perform Burlesque. Often the drag performer is comic in nature, which falls in line with the burlesque scene, however some are more classical.
One is Violet Chanchki, ( who performs a variety of styles, one of which is an aerobatic act involving a hoop, where she removes her costume while swinging high above the stage.

Violet Chanchki 
Vintage female impersonator, Vicki Lynn, performed with the likes of Betty Page and Tempest Strom in the 1950’s setting the standard for others to follow.

The Gorgeous Vick Lynn 

Burlesque is seen as an empowering event, as it is not focused on the ‘perfect body’, as many plus sized, disabled and coloured performers, as well as ‘Boylesque’ dancers take to the stage to give wonderful performances that would knock your socks off!!

Positive role models and empowerment 

For example Jacqueline Boxx performs in her wheel chair and explains how performing makes her feel

There are events going on all over the world and it’s a fab night out – so give it a go and see if you enjoy it as much as I do.

Dawn with the Cafe de Paris Burlesque dancers 

Note - I have linked youtube clips and uploaded some photos of dancers from the internet

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