Bristol's Badass Burlesque Show
I was racking my brains for a topic for a burlesque article. I wanted to do something interesting that would connect with a lot of performers out there. But then I got distracted and had a some cake and thought that maybe what I would do is more of a blog entry this time round.
The reason I thought this is because all day my mind has kept coming back to a conversation I had with Tuesday Laveau about my experiences performing at the Welsh Burlesque Festival. And so here it is – a piece that I think we can all relate to, told through my own experiences.
Every now and then there a blips in everyone’s burly journey. More often than not, because we are all human, those blips are downwards. We’ve had a bad show, find ourselves doubting our abilities, feeling paranoid or overwhelmed, thinking of quitting… or at the least avoiding Facebook for several days. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.
But hang in there! Every now and then those blips are upwards!
I have been performing for over two years now and in that time I have had more downs than I can count. Most of them are totally in my head, I realise on reflection, but at the time it can feel very daunting and discouraging. But there have been ups too! Every time I’ve had a good show, every time an audience member has complimented me afterwards, and every time… well, the two times I have been recognised and complimented whilst going about my every day doings by a stranger in the street/shop/bar who had previously seen me perform.
Recently I got into a funk. I had a few rubbish things happen in my personal life and what seemed like months of negativity building up in my burly life finally crushed me. This may sound dramatic… because I am a little dramatic. And actually, I am being totally dramatic. Basically, I had had a few things playing on my mind that got me down and really started to doubt myself, and yet I know most if not all of those things were not directed at me or my performance ability. I just took it personally because, again, we are all human (for the most part).
What pulled me out of this funk was directly burlesque related. It was attending a lovely evening with some wonderful performers I am happy to call friends and watching the amazing Dirty Martini’s New Burlesque documentary. A combination of seeing some performers I really respect, pulling off a great show (and some great costumes) and a pretty damn inspirational film, made me remember something I had resolved late in 2011. To push myself. To up my game.
I was already in the process of doing this, I had put together two new routines which I felt were taking me to that next level, and updated my favourite and signature routine Too Hot To Hula with new music, props and moves. The evening had made me realise I couldn’t give into the funk now, not until I had put those routines out there to see how they go down.
And so I did. On Saturday 31st March I performed in the Tea Time Tease Show at the Welsh Burlesque Festival. It was an awesome and amazingly organised day put together by Cardiff Burlesque (Foo Foo La Belle) and Swansea’s Bluestocking Lounge (Lilly Laudanum). I had a great time and the levels of support and friendship were amazing backstage – don’t we all love and feel invigorated by a positive changing room!!
The audience were lovely, but had been a little too quiet for my liking on some of the acts. Perhaps it was all the tea and cake they had ingested, but I was starting to worry a little – my newly overhauled Too Hot To Hula relies on getting the audience in my corner – or in other words pointing at someone and shaking my ass at them. This could obviously fall flat with an unresponsive audience. But I need not have worried, as soon as the first article left my person, they were there. It was one of the best audience reactions I’ve had. And to perform this routine that I love, and is totally who I am as a performer and have it go so well… Well, that was an UP!!
But it didn’t end there. I had what I can only describe as an epiphany-palooza day. Great backstage, awesome performance and reception, and then afterwards compliments from the audience. But the biggest up for me was the compliments of my fellow performers. Some of the girls performing in the Tea Time show and also some from the evening Gala Show had seen me perform and gave me compliments that filled me to bursting. I realised, as I retold this to Tuesday when we met up a few days later, that this was something I had rarely heard. I had never had a bad reaction from fellow performers, simply that they rarely ever saw me perform – they were backstage or in the dressing room and maybe, just maybe, if they had seen me, I wasn’t as good then as I am now. Having fellow performers, especially those more experienced than myself, give me positive feedback on my routine was the biggest up EVER! Because these are people I know and respect, they know their shit and if you get a compliment then it is meant. For me it meant that I had managed to up my game as I had planned.
What was the point of this ramble? Maybe it was to reassure you all, especially you – yes you, you know who you are, the one feeling a little down right now, a little unsure and overwhelmed by the whole thing – that these ups do happen, they do come.
But you know, there is a bigger point to this. They only come if you make them happen. If you keep raising your game, challenging yourself to perform better, to develop atronger routines, or even just step up the game on routines you already have.
If you want to go for it and get those ups and move to the next level, only you can make that happen. But you know what? The love and support and friendship from the Southwest Burlesquers will be there with you all along the way. And the next time you have an up, you let us know and we’ll all be sure to do a coochie crunch in your honour!
Big assed love from