Learning Burlesque can be a really fun thing to do, whether you want to learn for fun, to increase your confidence or because you want to train to be a performer. With classes springing up left, right and centre it can be hard to know who to choose or what to look for in a teacher or school. Burlesque at present has no governing body or defined syllabus so essentially anyone can set up classes and advertise them regardless of whether they have any experience or training. To help the many of you who email me wanting to learn burlesque here are some Do’s and Don’ts for you to make sure you get the most for your money….
Do Know Why You Want to Learn
There are many reasons to learn burlesque and some times it will be obvious why you are booking i.e. to organise a friends Hen Party. But other times you may have to consider your motivations - do you actually want to perform burlesque as a professional, try it out once for fun, increase your confidence, fitness or just take time to express your femininity. Once you know why it is much easier for you to choose the right teacher who will introduce you to the aspects of burlesque you are interested in.
Do Find Out What Experience Your Teacher Has
One of the most important things to look at in a teacher is how much experience they have in actually performing. Burlesque is a live art and is something that must be experience on stage unlike subjects like ballet where the techniques can be studied in and of themselves. Find out if your teacher has performed professionally in any of the established burlesque circuits - not just once but regularly. They cannot teach you something they have not experienced!
Have a look also to see whether your teacher has any professional training in any traditional disciplines - dance, acting, etc. Bare in mind not all successful burlesque artists have been trained in these fields and have learnt over time through hard-work and experience. You may be happy with that if they achieved a good deal in their career without theatrical training, or you may wish to learn from someone who has had an all round training in performance.
Don’t Just Go for the Cheapest Option
This is especially important if you want to look at burlesque professionally. If some thing looks too good to be true the chances are it probably is! Burlesque can take years to fully master and no experienced professional is going to give their knowledge away for a few pounds per session. The exception to this is the few drop in classes that run which are probably priced at approx £6/7 per hour class which is the standard charge for a drop in dance class. Classes like this are usually dance based and done for fun and fitness.
Do Feel that You Can Call the Teacher Before Hand to get a Feel For Their Personality
This is especially important if you are looking at learning burlesque to help you with confidence in your day to day life. Even the very best teachers have their own style with their students that isn’t compatible with everyone - this is the same in any discipline. Take the time to find out if you feel comfortable with them before you invest your self-confidence and money.
Don’t Expect Your Teacher to Make You into a Star After 3 Classes
You wouldn’t go to a couple of ballet classes then expect to dance for The Royal Ballet - burlesque is the same! Yes, all performers start some where and it maybe that this is the first step to a career for you but contrary to popular belief these things do not happen over night and take a lot of time, hard work and perseverance.
Don’t Expect Your Teacher To Give You The Keys To The Kingdom
This is important for those looking at professional burlesque training. Burlesque like any art is a passage of self discovery where your individuality and personality are your most important tools. Your teacher should equip you with the techniques you need, tell you the theories behind what you are studying and guide and help inspire you to find your own unique style. Great art teachers will tell you about colour, form, light and shade, they do not draw you a picture and ask you to colour between the lines.
Do Go With a Positive Mental Attitude to try Some Thing New
Burlesque requires confidence and fun! The more you relax and have fun the more you will surprise yourself with how you feel, what you can achieve and create.
The Hen Party
Burlesque is a really popular hen party choice and a good fun one and booking one is a little different to finding a burlesque tutor. I’m guessing your priority for this day is to make sure everyone in the group feels included, to do something sexy, to make your hen feel special etc. For these its not absolutely necessary for you to learn from a top pro (unless you want to!) so if your purely interested in having a bit of sexy fun make sure you go for a company who have experience in providing quality hen parties. They should be able to suggest a good venue for you, probably with a bar and have teachers that are fun and fully trained to make sure your party is conducted safely.
Good luck on your journey and don’t forget to check out our Academy page!