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The Burlesque Glove Peel – I Used to Make Fun of It

There’s that moment on stage, especially within “traditionally classic American” burlesque ….when the burlesque glove peel happens. I used to make fun of it because for awhile it became so predictable. “Walk on stage. Pose. Pose. Pose. Shimmy. Shimmy. Twirl. Pose. Tease. Bite your finger. Display your hand and arm. Bite and slowly tease that first glove off. Ta dah…”

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Yeah, I most definitely used to make fun of it when I saw it in Cheesecake Burlesque and Neo-Burlesque and especially anybody’s ode to yesteryear paying homage in a signature tribute act. And then after doing some research and stepping out of the influence of burlesque brands who spoke ill of other forms of burlesque, I left my ignorance behind. 

Now, guess what? We’re exploring glove peels in this Saturday’s SpeakEasy Burlesque dance class. Well, that and SO MUCH MORE!

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The History of Gloves

Before we even get deep into it, head to BlueStockingMagazine for their informative article on gloves. From wearing gloves for protection, for work, for eating, as a social status, as a symbol or even as a sign of etiquette, there are many reasons we cover our hands. This means that the act of revealing our hands can be quite an event, especially in burlesque. (Psst, Blue Stocking Magazine was one of many websites I featured in this post. Reference them often when looking for info. Trust me.)

If Burlesque is “extreme parody, emotional storytelling and extravagant striptease,” focusing intention and movement on every aspect of gloves matter, especially if they are included in your performance act or just as a costume prompt for exploration in a dance class. (That reference regarding burlesque, you can read more on it in “What is Burlesque?“)

Still, who gives a fuck about gloves?

Let’s pause for a second. Forget I mentioned gloves for two minutes. Let’s first talk about the totality of “SpeakEasy Burlesque.” I teach Burlesque Dance classes in a self-titled genre that I call “SpeakEasy.” Its a “mysterious and forbidden order of society for wicked and wayward souls.” My studio classes are 90 minutes each and explore power, pleasure and play through sensual movement and erotic exploration. 

Currently, I have two series, “Sensual Erotic” and “Burlesque Exploration.” Classes are every Saturday and are in 6 week series cycles. Whether you come to every single class or only one, its all good. Each class includes a slow, sensual, delectable warm up, creative movement prompts, traditional burlesque dance instruction, guided discussion and soothing cool downs that evoke and provoke your authentic and primal erotic nature.

So for instance, last week we began the “Sensual Erotic” series and in class one students learned and work-shopped the first five prompts in my “Sensual Core Flow” series. “Sensual Core Flow” is a body of work I developed on teaching freestyle movement, especially as it relates to burlesque. Be that as it may, no matter the genre or teacher, I do think its important to also teach historical burlesque movement too. Like, how could you teach theater without at least referencing Shakespeare? (I talk about that more in Creating Burlesque Curriculums, Syllabus and Lesson Plans.)  So for class one, students learned and work-shopped the Burlesque Bump, the Burlesque Grind, and the Burlesque Shimmy.

Yes. All of that happened last week in a 90 minute class. Sounds heady and intimidating but trust me, I know what I’m doing. It was really yummy and fun and playful and powerful and full of pleasure. Cuz why bother if it doesn’t feel good?

And that brings me back to GLOVES!

Who gives a fuck about gloves? Me!

Therefore our next class happening THIS SATURDAY, October 13, 2018 in the current series is titled “Hit the Spot” and for the historic burlesque portion of class, we are focusing on GLOVES!!!!!! When I first thought of gloves, of course satin gloves came to mind. I own several pair. And if you’re coming to class on Saturday, you can pick some up at a local Party City or on Amazon Prime. Just type “satin gloves.” 

BUT WAIT!!!! Satin Gloves? Really?!

Maybe long satin gloves with fringe isn’t your thing. Its ok. Plus Burlesque is MANY things. Maybe your persona or act is centered on the story of a gardener and their rose. So your gloves might be gardening gloves. OR, maybe your act incorporates a boxing story, so boxing gloves it is. Maybe you are going to bring mittens to class or motorcycle gloves or yellow cleaning gloves or those white-ish sanitary hospital gloves. Bring any type of gloves you want to class this Saturday. (Bring knee pads too. There’s going to be floor work and chair work. In case you’re wondering, what else to wear, check out “What to Wear to a Burlesque Striptease Dance Class.“)

This Saturday is a high energy burlesque movement class that explores “Sensual Core Flow.” You will be guided through prompts that focus on stage presence, subtext and seduction. And, there’s always time set aside for freestyle. What’s the point of learning something, if you don’t have a huge chunk of time spent exploring it?

I’d love to have you join me. Come learn the soulful and provocative art of burlesque in a pleasure-filled and sassy environment. Everyone is welcome and no experience is necessary. Together we explore classic and modern genres of burlesque movement and archetypes while working with props, clothing and our own bodies.

What type of gloves would you bring to a Burlesque Striptease Dance Class? Post below. 

Photo credit: Faint Sanity on Visual Hunt / CC BY