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.
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’.