My Burlesque Journey - Claire Louise

Claire Louise in her graduating performance.

It had been on my mind for quite some time…

I would love to perform Burlesque, but the bridge between wanting to perform burlesque and actually performing at a venue seemed a little foggy and unclear. So I put it off…. and off… and off. Until I went to the Australian Burlesque Festival. “You could do that” My ever so supportive partner said to me.

Yes I could… eventually.

I sat at work google searching classes. Sass & Tease came up loud and clear. I hesitated, to be honest, I’m not really a fan of classes. I can get terribly anxious and awkward and the thought of practicing in front of other students freaked me the out! I decided instead to attend a Shaken & Stirred show and go from there. Maybe someone would want to adopt me and teach me a few things.

I let my partner know of the plan, and in our usual manner we left everything to the last minute and the show had sold out. Not to be discouraged, I called the venue and pleaded to be squeezed in, “I’m just small, we won’t take up much room..” The lovely lady on the other end of the phone told us to show up, just in case there were no shows.

We turned up and were let in.

Dressed in black we hid away at the back of the bar and enjoyed the show. All the while the little voice in my head was getting louder “do it do it DO IT DO IT!!”

After the show I was approached by the lovely Tiffany Blue and she suggested I try a class, perhaps the performance class if I wanted to perform at the end. Hell yes I did!

I emailed back and forth, thinking that perhaps a one on one mentor session would ease my anxious tendencies a little. I even emailed another local burlesque performer and asked her recommendations on getting into the scene. “Classes, and my pick would be Sass & Tease”. I put on a brave face and signed up for the classes.

Well, I had nothing to worry about. Right from the start I found the classes to be super friendly and non judgmental. After all we were all there for the same reason. To learn burlesque.

We covered the history of burlesque, which prompted me to dig further myself. All of a sudden I was wanting to absorb everything I could!

The classic burlesque moves were just what I really needed to learn to create my routine and despite my hesitation in joining a class, I did find it helpful to learn with others, find out what they were struggling with, working on, striving for. We also covered industry which was super helpful. The teacher’s treated us like we were already burlesque performers in each class. “When you are performing... etc...” Which is a real confidence booster when you are just starting out.

What I also found really great with Sass & Tease Collective classes, is that they are a Collective, which means you get to learn from lots of different performers with different tastes and styles and this is really invaluable. As a newbie, the best thing you can do is learn from lots of different people to really get a rounded idea of your own preferences and favourite styles etc, and then from this, build your own style.

I am super glad I attended class. I left with ALL the information I needed to get started as a new burlesque performer. The teachers are still supportive and answer any questions I have, long after class has finished. Also I feel as though I have a network of people I know in the local burlesque scene (which is really helpful when you are a bit anxious at times). I have been through class with some of Canberra’s other newbie performers and also have a number of mentors in the collective now as I begin, fellow performers.

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