This month’s RedBalloon mission was quite exciting but slightly intimidating. Four one hour burlesque classes in Sydney, taught by a real live burlesque performer who goes by the name of Satin Spitfire.
Satin is hot. Not to mention crass, funny, loud, sweet, accepting and inclusive, and about a million other kinds of awesome. The class was small, the dance moves relatively easy, and the music loud and sexy.
The idea of burlesque dancing is so appealing to the lush, heady side of creativity. It’s all sparkles and glitter, velvet and feather boas, champagne and sex, and something inherently feminine and powerful. It’s so commonly confused with stripping, but getting naked is not the point. It’s all about the tease.
While certainly not enough to turn me into any kind of sexy, sensual performer (a la Ms Spitfire); four one hour-long classes were just enough to get a taste of what burlesque is like; an introduction to the ins and outs of the theory, attitude and basic moves behind it. There is absolutely no experience necessary- the first class begins with the very basics of a ‘burlesque walk’ and choosing a stage name. Going with my theme, I am now officially (kinda) known as Lilly Bean (like jellybean, only…. not?).
Out of the class of five, only one of us had any prior exposure, having done pole dancing and been to quite a few live burlesque shows. She even had a kick-arse pair of stripper heels to wear. Along with comfy clothes and drinking water, ‘high heels and lippy’ are essential requirements for burlesque classes. I, of course, wore my favorite black and white heels. And when it came to Week Three- Tassle Twirling- I was delighted to discover Satin had a pair of black and white pasties for me to borrow.
Pasties, in case you’re wondering, are the things worn to completely cover your areola and nipples, to which your tassels are attached. You can either tape or glue them on. We played with a stack of props, including gloves and fans and feather boas. And there was no pressure to undress- the option to wear your pasties over bras or even a shirt was there. All but one of us stripped off anyway.
Just for the record- I suck at tassle twirling. The objective is to get your tassles to spin, just by shimmying your shoulders. Despite being assured that boob size and shape makes no difference, and everyone can twirl… I really don’t think my boobs are big enough. I did get some twirling happening, but only by putting my arms straight up in the air and jumping up and down. And I’m not sure that’s sexy.
Having put on a bit of weight recently, the timing for this one was perfect. I badly needed some self esteem boosting and body love, and this was perfect. All sizes and shapes are celebrated in burlesque. The vibe of the class was lovely- there was no judgement here; no bitchy poking and snarking about weight and lumps and bumps. The instructor was easily a size sixteen, and she was one of the sexiest woman I’ve ever seen. There was something confronting about feeling like a veritable stick figure, and not at all desirable. It was probably a good thing that I found myself looking sexier and slightly fuller-figured as the months worth of classes ran on, and appreciating what curves I do have.
As much as I hate to disappoint you all… I don’t think I’ll be making the transition to burlesque performing any time soon. I’d have to do a lot of work on twirling first. But I highly recommend burlesque classes. They’re a work out- you’ll leave sweating- but the moves are relatively easy. It’s the attitude that takes time to perfect.
And in terms of body love- this has been one of the most positive experiences I’ve ever had. I left every week loving my body, feeling sexy and womanly. And given those ten kilos I’ve quite comfortably put on, that’s been exactly what I needed.
As we’ve discussed, sometimes Mother’s Day just sucks. Do yourself a huge favour and invest in some burlesque body love, for you or someone else, this Mum’s Day. Red Balloon gift vouchers are available here.
per person. All purchases are subject to Red Balloon T’s and C’s.