Friday, February 08, 2013

Burlesque, baby

Burlesque: a literary, dramatic, or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of the subject.

Apparently, that is the textbook definition of burlesque. But if you ask the average person on the street what burlesque means, they will likely respond "chicks taking their clothes off." Of course, the routines need to include feathers, sequins, pasties, teasing, and least in my opinion.

I'm a fan of burlesque. Not because I particularly enjoy looking at women taking off their clothes; let's be honest, if I want to see that, I can look in the mirror. But for me it's about women empowering themselves. A lot of burlesque dancers aren't model-perfect, but when they perform they bring you along into their world where they are the hottest thing since sliced bread. It's all about loving your body and self-confidence and holding every person in that audience in the palm of your hand. So essentially, it's about power.

And I like power. I also like feeling attractive.

So when my friend Jennifer emailed me about Living Social's Bourbon and Burlesque classes (intro lesson to burlesque with three bourbon-based drinks), I was all about it. They're offered every Thursday and are run by two of the DC Gurly Show ladies, Velvet Kensington and Private Tails.

Me, Jennifer, and Bridgid. Suggestions for our burlesque group name: Chitty Titty Glam Bang and The Boa Constrictors. Also, since we're all lawyers, we could be Legally Busty. 

The class started with a brief introduction into the history of burlesque, and then we learned about several types of dancing.

Neo-burlesque: revival burlesque, in the classic style but with a modern twist.

Nerd-lesque: like neo-burlesque, but with a nerd theme to the shows and costumes.

Boy-lesque: when men dress as men and dance and take off their clothes.

Boi-lesque: when women dress as men and dance and take off their clothes.

Drag-lesque: when Drag Queens (men dressed as women) dance and take off their clothes.

Plus lots more that I can't remember. If you want to learn more, google it. Seriously, burlesque is awesome.

After the history less, the ladies demonstrated their moves, and it was time for us to get down to business! We learned some basic moves--how to remove our gloves in three different ways and different ways to work the boa. We also learned ways to work the booty, like the Betty Boop where you shake it and then stick it out. Work that money maker, ladies! We were then divided into groups and had to choreograph a number.

Sure, our number ended up a hot mess. But as I looked at the other group's performing, I couldn't help but marvel. I could tell that a lot those ladies had never done anything like this before. Some others weren't the best dancers and some forgot the steps...but you know what? Everyone looked beautiful because they felt beautiful. It was a room full of women rejoicing in themselves as they were and not worrying about whether their thighs were too big, or their stomach too poochy, or all the other horrible things that women tell themselves every single day. Everyone in that room felt beautiful. And it was beautiful! 

My good girl burlesque name: Ginger Snap. My naughty girl burlesque name: Ginger Snatch.

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