Burlesque

Advanced Burlesque students performing in Faerie Tales at Thornbury Theatre Dec 2014

WHAT IS BURLESQUE?

Burlesque first showed its bottom with the “tease” in a play called Lysistrata by the ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes. Lysistrata is a comedy where the women characters in the play used their sexuality and sensual wiles to convince their husbands to stop the war through sexual blackmail and tease. Burlesque was then seen performed by many Vaudevillians and confronting performers of the 1840s as a political satire and commentary of the social classes.

A typical Burlesque night included 3 or 4 acts of comedy, dance, mime, singing and striptease, with a grand finale. Burlesque then made its way to the shores of the US in early 1900s where the tease (and titties) had major influence. Over the next four decades many burlesque venues opened up, where great performers such as Gypsy Lee Rose and Zorita took to the stage.

Nowadays Burlesque can be clearly defined in two categories – the European political satire, involving taboo topics and risqué performances, and the other being the American pin-up girl style of the saucy tease. Here at Bottoms Up’s Melbourne burlesque studio, we combine both genres.

Burlesque has since evolved dramatically and new burlesque, or neo-burlesque, tends to try to shock the audience and takes on many forms. It includes acts based on the earlier conventions of strip tease, cabaret, comedy and elaborate costumes but brings the original foundations of political satire to the relevant issues of day.

 

BURLESQUE BEGINNERS

For the absolute burlesque virgin! Bump and grind, peel and pose your way through this 8-week course. Learn the history and the foundations of Burlesque through playful poses, shimmies and shakes, hip and chest isolations, undulations, glove peeling and Burlesque struts. While learning technique and moves you will be guided through a choreographed group routine giving you the tools needed to develop body awareness and confidence, along with a cheeky and seductive burlesque attitude!

This course is for those with little or no previous experience in dance and burlesque.
All levels of fitness welcome.

Note: Fan Dance 1 and Classic Burlesque Tease (below) can be used as Beginner Burlesque equivalents.

 

 

CLASSIC BURLESQUE TEASE

Inspired by the 1930s – 1950s feminine, glamorous Burlesque beauties of this time, Classic Tease will teach you all the tricks of tantalising & teasing your audience with a load of flirtatious fun.

We start gently with walks & poses, you’ll be guided through the techniques of glove peeling, stocking peeling, bra peeling and tassel twirling – the art that Burlesque is renown for.

Featuring slow, sensual tease to fast paced high energy shimmy shaking – this course will give you the tools you need for your classic tease!

Open to all levels

Fantastic for complete beginners and perfect for those wishing to refine their seductive tease.

 

MORE TEASE PLEASE – Classic Burlesque Tease Level 2

Now that you’ve completed Classic Tease or Beginner Burlesque you are now ready to take your tease to the next level!

During this 8-week course you will be trained in the styles and techniques of iconic burlesque stars of the American Golden Era (1930’s – 1950’s) mastering their signature dance routines.  Drawing inspiration from Tempest Storm, Lili St Cyr and Candy Bar to name a few, you will learn to develop character, improve musicality and learn dynamic moves such as squat jumps, bunny hops, low lunges, hip bumps and grinds, shimmies, slow paced and fast paced exotic trip tease, tassel twirling and more! While building confidence and awareness you will learn how to free your body and spirit to create you own unique improvised strip-tease routines.

This course is must for any Classic Burlesque enthusiast and for those wanting to combine technique with the physical freedom of the strip tease!

COURSE OUTCOMES:
  • To demonstrate a short solo routine
  • To have an extended knowledge of tease and sensuality
  • To have an understanding of musicality
  • To have a knowledge of a variety of golden age performers and performance styles
  • To practice safe warm-up techniques
  • To demonstrate a range of bumps, grinds, shimmies and walks
  • To demonstrate use of levels, poses and posture
  • To have a basic knowledge of gown, bump skirt and costume as prop
  • To use a knowledge of golden age moves and concepts to improvise performance
  • To demonstrate and extended understanding of character development

Students wishing to enrol must have completed either Classic Tease, Beginner Burlesque or have previous dance training.

 

BURLESQUE INTERMEDIATE LEVELS

Add pizzazz to your burlesque vocabulary! This course introduces you to different styles of dance that compliments any burlesque routine. Take the tease to another level – in more ways than one! Learn floor work, formations and caricature faces, through more complex and playful routines. Through the use of props (umbrellas, chairs, boas, fans) and combining burlesque moves with other dance styles such as tango, jazz, Charleston,  this course will teach you how to work solidly as an ensemble member and will improve spatial awareness.   During this course you will be introduced to a fast paced, comical component of burlesque as well as sensual classic tease, while developing strong character faces through the use of mask techniques. With a little bit more to peel and reveal, all students will have the opportunity to use pasties for the first time (please note: this component of the course is absolutely optional!).

Students are recommended to take 3 terms of Inter Levels before enrolling in Advanced Burlesque level.

Students enrolling in this course must have completed Burlesque Beginner,  Fan Dance 2 or Chair Intermediate, or have a sound knowledge of dance and burlesque. Medium level of fitness is required.

 

BURLESQUE ADVANCED Levels

Take your Tease to the next level!
Advanced levels continue with more challenging choreography while incorporating strip tease, poise and character. Advanced levels assume a good understanding of burlesque, and here you will be introduced to new techniques to help with clarity, grace and precision in your dance. During the course you can expect to use props such as fan and chair in your routines with the aesthetic drawn from either Classic to Neo burlesque.
Now that you have reached this level you will be expected to explore all aspects of the tease including glove peeling, bra peeling and how to tassel twirl with pasties (ornate nipple covers).
A great course for those wanting to participate in the end of year show and for aspiring solo burlesque performers.
Must have completed three terms of Burlesque Intermediate or have a sound knowledge and experience of dance and/or performance.
Medium level of fitness is required.
Students may be required to purchase additional costume items such as pasties and stockings.

 

All photos on this page thanks KristynaHess Photography