Honeytree Evil Eyeand Flirt Vonneguthad me at “TEDx-style lightning talks and steamy burlesque.” That was part of the descriptor used to explain their hit burlesque show, as they sought submissions from performers. While the show, having completed its 5th iteration is based in Philadelphia, they opened up submission entries to artists across the country. I applied, REALLY hoping I’d get in and literally lost my shit when I got the email notifying me that my application had been approved.
In “Get You A Girl Who Can Do Both” audience members get to “enjoy informative TEDx style lectures on a variety of subjects, followed by steamy burlesque performances… by the same people.” This concept was absolutely up my alley. In addition to being a burlesque performer and instructor, I am a keynote speaker, among many other things. I’m a member of the Speaker’s Bureau for RAINN. I speak at conferences, colleges, legislative summits and even numerous online festivals. I’m also a…
Project Manager in the corporate world
Stage Manager in the theater world
Advocate – specifically for sexual abuse prevention,
….and honestly the list goes on. I do a lot of shit.
So you see why I had to apply. According to Honeytree EvilEye, “The point of this show is to learn cool shit, have fun and illuminate that burlesque babes are more than just beautiful and sexy – but it’s also awesome that they’re beautiful and sexy.” Topics for our show included everything from medical nutritional therapy to techniques of scaring used by haunted houses, racial representation in stock photos to finding sexual agency after trauma and IUDs.
Besides according to the Philadelphia Magazine, October was a great month filled with queer events and spectaculars. One of their top events….was ours!
The Cast, The Producers and The Team
What can make or break an experience for me, as a performer is the production team and cast of a show. While the audience mostly only sees what happens on stage, our experience as performers includes backstage and off-stage. After 13 years of professional stage management and performance experience, there’s a lot I notice in how events and productions are run and how it is to work with professional artist. Every single person on the team and every performer when off stage was top notch, a team player and there to support the entire endeavor. There were no divas, no attitudes and no bullshit. Just an amazing night. Here’s a bit about each.
Hattie Harlowe,“The Mom Jeans of Burlesque” is a burlesque performer, producer, and host from Philadelphia, PA. A fun thing I found while googling around was her duet burlesque number, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” That’s one of my favorite movies, so the concept of this act is so clever for me. Google her. There’s so much online and I love that one of her niches has been on “Moms and Burlesque.” It reminds me of the Maternity Boudoir photography sessions that I do, as I feel its important we show (expectant) mother’s living in their erotic expression too. (That’s how they fucking got pregnant to begin with.) I love that she has made spaces for this in the burlesque world. Follow her online – Youtube| Facebook
Minnie Crisis is a NYC and Philly burlesque performer and makeup artist. Her performance was completely hilarious and fun and subversive. A fun thing I found while googling around was her “Bernie Sander’s Striptease.“ Among the genres of burlesque, one of my favorites is Socio-Political. In essence, that’s one of the original purposes of burlesque anyway. To provide an extreme parody of society. I call this genre of political burlesque, Trumplesque. Follow her online – Instagram | Twitter
Wild Iris is a Philly burlesque performer. I believe I heard from Honeytree that her performance that night was her third solo burlesque performance. She’s fairly new to burlesque and is even currently a part of “Philadelphia Burlesque Battle Royale. Follow her online – Facebook
Honeytree EvilEye, a producer of #DoBoth and performer in the show as well “is not a doll. She’s an action figure.” She’s also prolific. She’s a doctor, sex educator, podcaster, writer, burlesque performer, dancer, fitness instructor, and enthusiast of all things fun. I googled her and eventually had to come out of the rabbit’s hole. I found SEXx and I just wanna be a part of all the things she does. Follow her online – Website | Instagram| Facebook
Flirt Vonnegut was our host for the night. He’s also a Co-Producer of the show and heavily involved in the Philly burlesque team. He’s all the things. He’s funny as a host. He’s compassionate as a producer. And as a person, he’s legit. As he stripped down throughout the course of the show in between the acts, I saw he had garter socks on. HOT! All men should wear them. And he also wore pasties. His reason for it…if women had to do, he felt like he should wear pasties too. I had never seen a man wear pasties before and they actually looking amazing on him. More men should wear them. Follow him online –Instagram | Facebook
Our production team consisted of our DJ, Brettzo and our Kitten, Kyla Ren as well as our Door, Mack Aroon. Special thanks to iPI Solutions for providing security.
An archetype is a symbolic motif used as a form of identification and understanding. For example, what’s your sign? Whether someone says Taurus, Gemini or Scorpio, you already have some ideas in your head about their personality. Each of the 12 astrological zodiac signs have generic and stereotypical explanations of their meaning. There are also deeper and more robust understandings found in them too. At the end of the day, your sign and any archetype can mean everything to you or absolutely nothing at all.
Within the world of SpeakEasy Noir Burlesque, we use archetypes to explore extreme emotions, nuances, and movement. That’s because we define Burlesque as “extreme parody, emotional storytelling and extravagant striptease.” By associating with an archetype, you can find additional motivation and inspiration and you explore the depths of that “character.”
If you’re shy and an introvert, it’s okay. Perhaps for a performance or a class though, you will be “The Showgirl.” You can just “not be you” …the parts of you that are shy for a short period of time and then you can give yourself permission to play a part. The part of “The Showgirl” in all of her glory. If you’re a Vixen and outgoing, it might be interesting to explore, “The Librarian” or” The Housewife” or “The Ingenue” or whatever the case may be. Archetypes give us generic characters to play with, that we can build complexities upon in our movement and performances.
Within SpeakEasy Noir Burlesque, we have curated 12 archetypes that we find specific to the industry and culture of Burlesque. There are hundreds of archetypes but for the purpose of teaching, we selected 12 main ones that have become signature Burlesque Archetypes. We’ve also included additional names for the archetypes. You might, sort of like “The Showgirl” but the synonyms of “The Entertainer” or “The Mean Girl” is really what turns you on. The alternative names also allow for gender neutral, gender fluid and male gender options.
While we give specific archetypal assignments in our weekly SpeakEasy Noir Burlesque classes and privates, you can also choose to take on the persona of anyone for an entire class, just for fun. It deepens your experience of the magic we create in SpeakEasy Noir Burlesque. We’ve also created Pinterest Boards for each of the archetypes filled with modern day people or their fictional characters that fit the role of certain archetypes. Of course, there are overlaps. Of course, we love them all. This is just another tool for play or can be used as part of your wellness and spiritual erotic movement rituals.
Anytime you’re in a SpeakEasy Noir Burlesque class and you need a little inspiration or you want to take on an entirely new persona all together, reference one of our Burlesque Archetypes. Detailed information of each archetype is made available to any SpeakEasy Noir Burlesque students and can be accessed in The SpeakEasy. All you have to do is present your Cabaret Card.
Which Burlesque Archetypes appeals to you most and why?
Have you ever wondered, why do people take burlesque striptease dance classes? Considering my history with burlesque, that question did cross my mind when I bought a groupon for 3 burlesque classes. Whether you are considering taking a class yourself, are looking for a gift for someone else or just happened to be deep in some rabbit’s hole on google, here are a few reasons why people do take burlesque striptease dance classes.
Performers take Burlesque Striptease Dance Classes
As burlesque is a fine art form of entertainment, there is a demand for burlesque performers of all ages, sizes, races and backgrounds. Also, as there is no formal recognized school of burlesque, such as there are schools of theater, and as there is no industry wide accepted burlesque certification, many burlesque performers and artists take burlesque striptease dance classes from a wide variety of teachers at different studios, schools and more, to continue to train and improve as performers.
Fitness Enthusiasts take Burlesque Striptease Dance Classes
There are some people, like me, who like their fitness to have a bit of sass or adventure. So rather than going to the gym, I’d rather train for 2 Tough Mudders a year, take three different types of dance classes and 1 aerial class a week as my form of fitness. You know…. people who do yoga or pilates or spin or rock climbing, or Salsa Thursday or who are open to whatever the latest fitness craze is or upcoming trend will be…those people will take burlesque as a their form of fitness class because its fun, different and offered at their local studio.
Hobbyists take Burlesque Striptease Dance Classes
There are people who love burlesque as an industry. They like performing…but in student showcases or locally in their town. They don’t want to be a professional. They like their day job as an accountant or lawyer or marketing executive. They just like also having an interesting hobby. It makes their work-life balance all the more great. It adds a big of passion and play to their life. Its their little secret sometimes. It’s their pretend fall back plan or that interesting tidbit they have to share at a networking event. “Yeah, in my spare time I train as a burlesque dancer.” Those people take burlesque striptease dance class because its a fun hobby that keeps them active and engaged.
Lovers take Burlesque Striptease Dance Classes
Lovers take Burlesque Striptease Dance Classes too. They do it to spice up things. They do it as an fun gift for Valentine’s Day or Father’s Day or a Birthday. They do it because their anniversary is coming up and a private dance might be something their partner might like. So if they learn a routine, they can show it off later. Doing this makes them feel good and their partner is going to love it too.
Self-Carers take Burlesque Striptease Dance Classes
Some people take Burlesque Striptease Dance Classes because its part of their mind-body wellness practice. You know, their self-care ritual. For a designated time in a designated safe space, they have the freedom to explore any kind of expression, emotion, movement, or story, even if it manifest in sexual or erotic ways…or even if it doesn’t. Because Burlesque holds space for all of that. Having a sacred time set aside for self expression, allows for greater confidence and personal power. Wanna learn more about this reason? Check out, “Burlesque As a Mind Body Wellness Practice.”
Artists take Burlesque Striptease Dance Classes
Just as an artist would take a clown class, theater class, aerial yoga class, contact improv class and yoga class, it would only be natural to take a few burlesque striptease dance classes. Burlesque explores dance, acting, miming, comedy and striptease within one performance. Having a range of artistic training by exploring burlesque adds so much value to your personal development. Its important to indulge in the extravagant, dramatic and emotional range of your storytelling, striptease and subtext. Burlesque is a fine-art form. It demands nothing less.
Why do you take burlesque striptease dance classes? Or why are you going to take burlesque striptease dance classes? What are you hoping to experience?
What is Burlesque? That is the question. In one succinct blog post using my experience, research and tons of links, I’m going to try to answer that question as simple as possible for those looking for a quick answer, and as thoughtfully as possible, for those seeking a more in-depth answer.
Asking “what is burlesque?” is just like asking “what is theater?” Burlesque is a genre of art and entertainment. I want to explore the concept of theater first, so you can truly understand the scope of burlesque beyond “a woman doing a striptease.” According to Wikipedia, “Theater is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place, often a stage.” Fine art, according to Wikipedia, “is art developed primarily for aesthetics or beauty, distinguishing it from applied art, which also has to serve some practical function, such as pottery or most metal work.”
That means to say that theater exists for beauty and pleasure. While it can have social context and change the world, its a fine art in that it acknowledges some things exist for the joy of its beauty and the sensation of its pleasure.
Let’s look at more of the definition of theater. “The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music, and dance. Elements of art, such as painted scenery and stagecraft such as lighting are used to enhance the physicality, presence and immediacy of the experience. The specific place of the performance is also named by the word “theatre.”
So that’s “theater,” whether it be Broadway, Shakespeare or puppet theater.
So what is burlesque? We can exploreWikipediasome more! Burlesque “is a literary, dramatic or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects.” Burlesque is a parody of theater. At least its origins. We haven’t gotten into what is Neo-Burlesque as a dance genre. I’m simply exploring the original definition of this art form. And by definition, its burlesque is a parody of theater, or just a parody of serious art and culture.
That’s burlesque by its most basic and history definition.
A grotesque imitation of the dignified or pathetic or serious and comic elements were juxtaposed or combined to achieve a grotesque effect.
“Victorian burlesque, sometimes known as “travesty” or “extravaganza“, was popular in London theatres between the 1830s and the 1890s. It took the form of musical theatre parody in which a well-known opera, play or ballet was adapted into a broad comic play, usually a musical play, often risqué in style, mocking the theatrical and musical conventions and styles of the original work. The comedy often stemmed from the incongruity and absurdity of the classical subjects, with realistic historical dress and settings, being juxtaposed with the modern activities portrayed by the actors.” This is why you see the costume silhouettes within burlesque, they were traditional to their specific era in time. They wore the dress of who they were mocking.
“American burlesque shows were originally an offshoot of Victorian burlesque. The English genre had been successfully staged in New York from the 1840s, and it was popularised by a visiting British burlesque troupe, Lydia Thompson and the “British Blondes”, beginning in 1868. New York burlesque shows soon incorporated elements and the structure of the popular minstrel shows. They consisted of three parts: first, songs and ribald comic sketches by low comedians; second, assorted olios and male acts, such as acrobats, magicians and solo singers; and third, chorus numbers and sometimes a burlesque in the English style on politics or a current play. The entertainment was usually concluded by an exotic dancer or a wrestling or boxing match. By the 1880s, the four distinguishing characteristics of American burlesque had evolved: 1. Minimal costuming, often focusing on the female form. 2. Sexually suggestive dialogue, dance, plotlines and staging. 3. Quick-witted humor laced with puns, but lacking complexity. 4. Short routines or sketches with minimal plot cohesion across a show.”
Knowing its historical definition and bringing it into modern day context, Burlesque is extreme parody, emotional storytelling and extravagant striptease. Its theatrical (dramatic), political and entertaining. Its naughty and taboo. Its fun and humorous too. Also within Burlesque, there are genres from Classic Burlesque to Nerdlesque to Cheesecake or Neo-Burlesque.
As Burlesque is a form of entertainment, just like Theater, that means people (the audience) go to see it. Thus “Burlesque Shows.” People go to see Burlesque Shows. In the US, as far as I know, Burlesque Shows have manifested in a few ways…
Variety Show – a curated night of entertainment featuring all sorts of art forms including poets, singers, comedians, musicians, aerial artists, burlesque dancers and a host.
Curated Burlesque Show – a curated night of entertainment featuring individual burlesque dancers/acts and a host.
Theatrical Burlesque Show – a theatrically produced night of entertainment featuring burlesque dancers such as House of Perle.
In order for people to experience Burlesque Shows in any genre, covering any theme, that means there need to be Burlesque Performers. Thus the need for Burlesque Dancers, Burlesque Schools, Burlesque Classes and Burlesque Dance Troupes. As the genre gained popularity, those classes were also being taken by the general public as a form of fitness, nostalgia or new fun hobby. And as the industry continued to grow, Burlesque has its own conferences, competitions and more.