Burlesque Bodies

I still remember my first burlesque show – over ten years ago now, I borrowed a friends corset so I could look the part, I took the exciting trip through to Edinburgh and loved every performer. I even took to the stage during the interval as part of a competition and twirled tassles (admittedly, badly) for the first ever time. It seemed like I was desperate to hit the stage.

However, as much as I always dreamed of performing, it took me until just last year to actually take the plunge. Although I’ve always adored the art form, I have issues with my size and wasn’t sure whether burlesque was something I should do. No matter how many performances I went to, the awesome variety of women – and men’s – body shapes I saw, I just always worried that I still wouldn’t be able to perform.

I don’t know what made me finally change my mind. Maybe it was getting older, acceptance of my body shape or the growing envy as I watched others take to the stage, but I’m so glad I did. I know the style of performer I am – I’m perform character based acts – more since I’m not a trained dancer more than anything else. And as much as I’m not ever going to be a slim, lithe performer, I am trying to lose weight – for myself, and a gorgeous bridesmaid dress I’m due to fit in August.

Recently, the burlesque style I love to watch & perform has hit the internet headlines about a performer being sacked due to her size . The work she is doing since this happened looks set to challenge all types of acceptance in burlesque – something people of every body shape, sizes and type will surely be thankful for.

I’ve also just seen an application form for an afternoon of open auditions for a burlesque show which specifically asks bra size, dress size and measurements. I got pretty frustrated when I saw this. I understand producers have a look they go for. Everyone has their own artistic preferences and it’s completely understandable that not every performer will fit that aesthetic or those production values. But why ask for this specific information? Especially when you can see the performers in person at the open audition?

To me, it looks a bit like there will be decisions made more on someone’s dress size, rather than that performers ability to entertain an audience. It goes against all that I love about burlesque. If you’re a good dancer/performer, can engage people with your act and are slick and professional, then body shape and size shouldn’t come into it.

Looks like we still have a lot of work to do for acceptance of our Burlesque Bodies.

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