So you are new to burlesque? Well I wouldnt fret too much as the status of the fledgling performer is only a fleeting one due to the influx of girls and boys coming up behind you.
Ensuring you are one of the good’uns will help your career no end. People don’t want to work with a dick head diva, they merely only want to moan about them so take some tips from an old broad like me…
1) Be aware of who is in the dressing room
Being in a dressing room doesnt mean instantly launching into networking mode. Nothing annoys more than to be bombarded with business cards and cvs being reeled off whilst applying a merkin or glittering your arse. By all means get to know those who are sharing the stage with you, it’s polite and you never know where your next gig will come from but don’t overdo it.
Some performers need head space to get ready so appreciate/respect that. The only people in the dressing room should be performers, stage manager and compère. If you really need your own entourage perhaps you should provide your own trailer. We all know dressing rooms are tiny places that aren’t always the best ventilated so the less unessential people there the better.
2) Crew Kindness
These people make the show a success without them you are nothing and the show doesnt go on. Make their lives as easy as possible with clear directions for music and lighting. Over complicating situations with niff naff and trivia is not welcome on a busy show. No one wants to be handed a million and one trinkets to place on stage. If set up/clean up takes more time than the act no one is going to be impressed unless it’s a giant bird cage or a mega watt performance unseen on these lands before.
3) System overload
We all love burlesque, we do. But even the most devote of the mother ship lovers need a break. Realise there is more to the world than simply burlesque. We are entertainers but we also have lives outside of the spotlight so perhaps ease up on sharing every little detail about burlesque. Don’t demand we ‘like’ or vote for you on every social networking group. It’s beyond annoying. Get people engaging with you as both the talent and the brains, it’s going to give far more an impressive view of you than spouting how many rhinestones you pooped today.
If you don’t get headliner, fall out with someone or hate something; be a lady (or a gent). No one likes a sore loser, a bitch or a moaner. By all means vent with your besties but keep the cryptic off the internet, promoters will see it. Douches do it. You don’t. You are an adult working in a grown up environment so treat it as though you were in an office.
It’s tough being judged on something as personal as your performance (and sadly sometimes your appearance) so feelings do get hurt. Learn to move on. Without wanting to offend anyone this is only burlesque. Its entertainment, not neurosurgery or bomb disposal so lets keep things in perspective here. If it gets too much to not let it out, roar into the wind. A starlet doesnt let on when she is pissed off, instead we adopt the ‘Miss America’ smile and act like the gracious person we are.
Or do what I do…create Sims characters and kill them in the pool. Ok, that’s mildly psychotic I am sure…
5) Look where you have been
Burlesque is an age old form of art and entertainment, so knowing its history will not only provide you with a greater understanding of it but also help ensure its future. The same goes for you as a performer, remind yourself just how far you have come. Recording yourself will help develop your style but also offer encouragement when you feel frustrated. Only you control your career path. No amount of titles, awards or ceremonies will make you the best performer if you don’t push forward, work hard and enjoy the little things.
You can catch Khandie Khisses dancing all over the UK