How To Be A Burlesque Showgirl - Find UK Burlesque Dance Classes

by KathleenDuffy

Burlesque is glamorous, sexy and tongue-in-cheek and it's made a big comeback. Learn how to flirt with fans, tease with tassels and snap those suspenders

Burlesque-mad wannabe beauties are strutting their stuff in village halls and clubs all over the UK. These raunchy ladies come in all shapes, sizes, ages and professions.

It’s easy to see why burlesque classes are so popular. They are fun, glamorous, erotic and non-threatening.

It doesn't matter what shape you are, how old you are, or how inhibited you think you are. Just ditch the dungarees and pour yourself into a basque (and I am not talking about the Spanish separatist group!).

Burlesque Showgirls and Old-Fashioned Glamour

PURPLE SWEETHEART RUFFLE CORSET TOP

Burlesque Ruffle Corset Top from Love Burlesque

 

Whilst the average conventional stripper may look as though she’s doing her end-of-year tax returns, by contrast the sassy burlesque showgirl is having a whale of a time.

She’s far too busy to be bored. There’s the gloves to peel off and remove with the teeth, the skilful manipulation of giant ostrich fans, the slow burn of stocking removal and the bumping, grinding and winking at selected audience members – all in time to the suitably jazz-erotic music.

These delicious divas are harking back to the days of Gypsy Rose Lee, the Jazz Age and the American speakeasy and music hall, Zeigfeld Follies and the Paris Bluebell Girls. It’s all about flirty, teasing sex but with humour, as the names of modern-day performance artists Dita Von Teese and Immodesty Blaize reveal.

(By the way, ‘reveal’ is a flagship word in the world of burlesque dancing. That’s the moment when the expertise of the dancer is called in to play as she enticingly and skilfully ‘reveals’ more of herself by the smooth removal of glove, stocking etc.)

Here's a Short Tutorial on Burlesque Dancing

...another one from the same lady as she is so classy...

Unlike the worn out image of the modern striptease dancer, in the spirit of leaving the best bits to the imagination burlesque dancers are more concerned with the eroticism of anticipation.

To help fuel their audience's imagination, burlesque dancers often have rounded figures, not unlike the women in the television series Mad Men, and so they look fabulous spilling out of those lacy corsets. Beautiful big ladies - you will look amazing in burlesque costumes!

And age is no barrier – sixteen or sixty you can strut your stuff with pride.

Black Gloves

Elbow-length black gloves Available from Love Burlesque

Burlesque Dance Showgirl Revival - Demand for Classes

LONG TULLE BUSTLE BURLESQUE SKIRT

Long Tulle Bustle Burlesque Skirt Available from Love Burlesque

 

The burlesque showgirl revival is seeing the creation of some great dance classes. Experienced teachers can banish inhibitions at the flick of a feather.

Speaking metaphorically, shy and inhibited gals will stumble into their first burlesque dance class in old trainers and anoraks and leave wearing ruby slippers and fishnets!

Burlesque shoes
burlesque shoe

Retro Pin-up Burlesque Shoes from Love Burlesque

"The Ministry of Burlesque"

Your One-Stop Shop for All Things Burlesque

The Ministry of Burlesque is a website which plays host to burlesque venues all over the United Kingdom.  If you'd like to learn the noble burlesque tradition, then this is the place to start.  To find classes in your area, just sign in to become a member and the world of burlesque will open up its sequinned doors  to you!   

The Ministry provides a wealth of information for lovers of burlesque - where to see burlesque shows, how to find classes, and if you are really serious, how to find a job!

Vintage Lace Ruby Necklace
Gothic bracelet
Gothic bracelet

Fabulous Burlesque Accessories from Love Burlesque

 

As an example of the kinds of classes and venues you might find in your area, take for example the following two:

1.              Bournemouth was once the place where UK pensioners went to retire. Not any more. Now they and their younger sisters are flaunting themselves gloriously at the following venue: Annie Young’s Kittykatcabaretclub.   Check out their video - they seem to be having a good time!

2.            At Bijou Burlesque in London they not only teach burlesque dancing but also how to create the retro hair styles of the 1940's & 50's. You can also have your photo taken dressed as a 1950s pin-up. And they do fabulous hen parties!

Fascinator
PURPLE MINI TOP HAT WITH ROSE AND NET

Fabulous Fascinators from Love Burlesque

There are many more sites on the internet where you can find out where to go to release that inner glamour puss, regardless of age, shape or experience!

Don't want to perform? Why not go to a show and watch! It's such good fun.

And don't forget The Ministry of Burlesque website where you can find out all the latest information about all aspects of burlesque in the UK.

Now come on, sign up for those classes.  You know you want to - even if its just so that you can put on a show in the privacy of your own bedroom!  Ooooh la la!

Sources:

  • 'High Tease in the Shires' by Sam Fraser in The Lady magazine, 11th May 2010.
  • Ministry of Burlesque - Website with news about the burlesque scene worldwide. 
  • The History of Burlesque at Musicals101.com

 

Updated: 04/04/2014, KathleenDuffy
 
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KathleenDuffy on 03/09/2016

All power to their elbows! (or whatever else they may wish to display)!

arthurchappell on 03/03/2016

As a burlesque fan I have seen several ladies and boylesque performers go from taking a few lessons to making a career as burlesque entertainers

KathleenDuffy on 04/04/2014

cmoneyspinner - Hey girl! It's never too late you know!! Wish you were over here - we could go together! (sorry took me soooo long to reply to your comment - I just noticed it!)

cmoneyspinner on 02/19/2014

How to become a Burlesque showgirl? Oh yeah! I am totally psyched about doing this! When's the next class? If only I had found this article 40 years ago. :)

KathleenDuffy on 01/25/2014

WriterArtist - Yes, they are amazing! I might go to one for my 70th!

WriterArtist on 01/25/2014

I absolutely adore these gorgeous ladies. And I would certainly buy a ticket to see the burlesque dancers show.

KathleenDuffy on 01/25/2014

Rupert - It's never too late - get yourself down to the nearest village hall and offer to make the tea!

KathleenDuffy on 01/25/2014

Ha ha!! Abby - there's got to be a burlesque group near you! :)

RupertTaylor on 01/24/2014

Village halls? When I was a lad and developing an interest in the female form I would have killed to see a burlesque show in my village hall in Lincolnshire. However, if such had happened a watch committee somewhere would have had the place pulled down and the ground it stood on ploughed with salt.

AbbyFitz on 01/24/2014

Why can't I live in England??? This looks like fun!


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