Critical Mass

My lovely web mistress sent me the link to this piece by Dan Savage .  In Dan’s article he critiques 4 shows he attended over 3 days.  He gives quite an intense review where he chastises the boring bits and applauds the clever bits.  He warns that with too much burlesque happening out there risks flooding the market leaving audiences saturated and bored.  Love or hate his article – he challenges me to think about my performance in a different way. 

Showing my character with Pretty Pictures

Coming up with choreography/building/creating an interesting performance can be quite a lengthy process for me.  For me burlesque is about transformation – but it also needs to be interesting and grab an audience.  I’m a harsh critic, if movies don’t grab me in 5 minutes I switch them off.  I apply this same rule to dance/performance.  Not only that I like to ‘say something’ probably to justify my existence as a burlesque dancer but also to show depth of character that may not be viewed simply through my nude body.  As burlesque performers we are sharing ourselves with the audience, viewers see more than our flesh.

So what does Dan challenge me to think about?
Besides the multiple layers of considerations he’s pushing me to keep it interesting, keep it different.  I agree with his point that any women could get up on the stage and remove her clothes, and that does get a bit overdone.  He issues the challenge:

“If your entire act consists of parading around in an outfit, and then removing that outfit, that outfit had better be spectacular and the removal of it had better be (a) seamless and (b) compelling.”

  Here here I agree.  Eva Strangelovesaid in the Dom Post that what she didn’t like about strip-clubs was that they 

“ignored the girl and her character and made it just about her body”.

For me when a performer doesnt project, doesn’t think about what she is ‘saying’ in her performance it’s then it is just about her body.  And that’s not empowering anyone and it certainly doesn’t endear burlesque audiences either.  Let’s take up Dan’s challenge and be clever, witty and most of all  ‘compelling’ with ‘character’.

Dans article     Eva Strangelove’s  interview with Dom Post

One Comments Post a Comment
  1. Hester says:

    I do so like some Dan Savage. Pretty refreshing.

    I put on Ready for Takeoff trying to provide an outlet for people who wanted to do something a bit different, who weren’t just pretty girls dancing in their knickers. I mean, everybody loves scantily clad girls (apparently Dan Savage even likes them more than I would’ve expected) and they’re very marketable, so they’re *everywhere*. What I wasn’t seeing enough of was burlesque that made me think or laugh or go “WTF?!”. On the other hand, I want performers to do what makes them happy, so I don’t go demanding that they go out on a limb, I just hope.

    As far as performance goes, I’m on the opposite end of things – loads of (what I consider) witty ideas but I totally lack the performance skill to realise them (I was tempted to swear off entirely after my last pathetic attempt).

    Glad there are some folks such as yourself into thinking as well as titillating.

About Miss La Belle

Hi. I'm a Wellington burlesque dancer and dance teacher. I enjoy having a great giggle in class whilst I teach lovely lasses to dance and to enjoy feminity. Vintage dresses and lingerie are my passion. I love chocolate but dislike pumpkin. I love coffee but loathe licorice. In 2010 I won Miss Burlesque New Zealand with a housewife turns pirate act. You can follow me on Facebook.
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