How to be a burlesque dancer

How To Become a Burlesque Dancer, Burlesque Performer, Burlesque Artist....

How To Become a Burlesque Dancer, Burlesque Performer, Burlesque Artist…. 1024 898 Vixen DeVille Vixen DeVille

Maybe you’ve seen some pictures, recently saw a show, or have been a fan of burlesque for years but always secretly wished it was you on stage. Whatever piqued your interest, you’re here… wondering if this seed of an idea can become fully fledged reality.

The answer to that is, YES – it absolutely can!

From those of you looking for a hobby to improve body confidence, or to add some fun and sparkle to your life, to those with stronger intentions of turning this beautiful art form into a new career – this guide will give you the necessary steps to successfully support you on your way.

Over the years I’ve witnessed my students transform into international award-winning burlesque performers. I’ve seen them grow their own troupes and produce their own shows. I’ve seen how burlesque has provided them with a supportive community and the new found confidence to enable them to make drastic, positive changes in both their personal and professional lives. (You can check out some of the most inspiring and moving stories of my students in my book, “Vixen’s Unleashed”) – So let’s get you started on YOUR journey.


If this is all totally new to you, you’ve never danced or even performed in any medium before, I recommend taking an introductory burlesque class first to get a feel for it.

Taking a one-off introductory class such as my “Unleash Your Inner Vixen” either in-person or online means you can get a feel for the teacher’s vibe and style before you commit to their longer term course.

Watching YouTube videos doesn’t really count. Yes you might be able to pick up some technique, but taking an actual class gives you the opportunity to gain personal feedback, as well as a chance to plug in with your burlesque community, both by creating a rapport with the teacher and by making connections with the other students.


GO SEE SOME SHOWS!! We want to get you familiar with the venues and performers in your area, as well as the virtual shows that may be running online, so that you have an idea of where you will be performing, who you will be working with and the vibe of the different shows around. This research will get you even more connected to your community and give you a head start in knowing where best to submit yourself once you’re ready to perform.

This research also gives you a chance to check out the standards and styles of acts currently being performed, which is great not only as inspiration, but also as education on what has already been created and to maybe avoid when creating your first act so that you can stay as unique as possible.


My full act development course, “Permission To Play” can be taken IN PERSON in Los Angeles or anywhere ONLINE Designed for bodies of all ages abilities, shapes and sizes, this course will guide you through my own step-by-step process for creating your personally tailored solo act. The course culminates with the opportunity to perform as a debut guest star either in your hometown or in a professional Burlesque show in Los Angeles.


In order to get your act booked you need to promote yourself! For that to happen you need promotional materials that do you and your act justice.

Studio photos or stills of you performing on stage, plus video footage of your act are both needed not only to send to producers and bookers to pitch yourself for a show, but will be requested from you by the producer in order to promote the show you get booked for.

Hire a professional photographer or videographer, to help you get materials that sparkle! If you’re doing “Permission to Play” with me in Los Angeles then your debut show includes footage and show stills as part of your package.


It’s not who you know but who knows YOU! Social media is not only used heavily in order to promote shows and events but also used in the burlesque community to post castings and request show submissions.

If you’re avoiding Facebook or Instagram now’s the time to create a new account under your burlesque persona ( for my article on How To Choose Your Burlesque name click here )

Being active on social media is also important not just in order to secure bookings by finding castings and showing potential bookers your style and vibe. Social media is also crucial in order to support and promote shows once you’re booked. Producers expect you to do your fair share of promoting the show and bringing an audience so an active and supportive social media account is vital.

STEP SIX – GET EXPERIENCE (and be professional)

Once you’ve performed your debut, you need to get a few performances under your belt to really get your act smooth and polished. When starting out, try to perform as much as possible to ‘earn your stripes’, to get your act fine tuned, and to build your reputation within the community.

This will mean working a number of shows for free, before you can start demanding higher levels of pay. Submit to newcomer festivals, volunteer to ‘Kitten’ for a producer’s show, but always, always treat your gig as a professional engagement regardless of size of venue or amount of pay. You don’t want to get a reputation for the wrong reasons. When starting out it can be more valuable to do a performance free of charge in return for experience, contacts, footage and professional promotional photos.


Now that you’ve got the foundation of your first act created and performed, and you’re starting to get known in the community, this is the time to build on that foundation.

Start to build on and explore other performance skills; chair dance, aerial arts, flow arts, fire dancing, juggling, magic, other dance styles, musical instruments. Find something that lights you up which you can start to incorporate into your acts to make them even more uniquely yours.

Add to your act creation skills – learn how to embellish and create custom costume pieces, prop making, sound editing, all these skills will add to your self expression and creativity when developing your next act.

You can find information on my supplementary training including learning to eat fire, beginners fire fan classes, feather fan technique and burlesque costume creation here.


Most producers will hire a performer to perform at least two acts in their show so in order to become more bookable you will need to have at least two solid (preferably contrasting) acts in your repertoire. Make sure to get all your promotion in line for your second act as well – get it filmed, photographed and get some great studio shots for poster and flyer use. Many of my students will book me for a single private session for feedback on an act they are developing or to use as a consultation to develop new ideas. Once you’re in the community you can also use your peers as sounding boards to try out new ideas.

Now that you have two solid acts, a reputation, a growing social media fan base and some stage experience, you’re ready to go book those higher paying gigs. Download my PDF on How To Get Paid Gigs.

To book a free consultation with me to discuss how you can best make a start on your burlesque journey click here.

If you are looking for more support in your burlesque journey whether you are just discovering burlesque or are a seasoned pro check out my monthly membership programme for instructional videos, monthly guest speakers and 10% discount on my products and services across this website.
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How To Become A Burlesque Performer

Dan Charles Guides, Information, tips

Burlesque, it’s beautiful, bold, funny, sparkly, daring and fabulous.

Maybe you’ve seen pictures, watched Gypsy or even been to a live show. For many your fascination with burlesque stays firmly in the audience for others, burlesque awakens secret desires to get up on that stage and shine.

But….. how does one become a burlesque performer?

Having worked with well over 5000 women since 2007, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing many of our students go on to become professional burlesque performers travelling all over the UK and internationally. 90% of Cheek of It! graduates entering UK competitions have come 1st, 2nd or 3rd since 2010, including the last three winners of Burlesque Idol 2015 (Didi Derriere), 2014(Pearl Grey) and 2013 (Luna Peach). The Cheek of It! Even won it’s own London Cabaret Award in 2012 for our contribution to the industry. Many women come to improve body confidence or add some sparkle to their lives and would never have dreamed their hobby might lead to a new career and many come with their sights firmly set on becoming a professional Burlesque Performer. Whether it’s on purpose or by happy accident, at some point I will be asked, “how do I become a burlesque dancer/performer”?

There are many ways into every profession, but this is our tried and tested route, just add, commitment, tenacity and a willingness to cultivate your talent and you’ll have everything you need to launch your burlesque persona onto the Burlesque and Cabaret scene.

Credit: Tigz Rice Studios

1. The Path to glitter and glory

For those serious about becoming a burlesque dancer/performer, I would highly recommend starting with the Beginners Showtime Course. A weekly course running for eight weeks covering all the classic moves of burlesque, creating your own burlesque character, burlesque striptease and a troupe performance at the end of your course. The Showtime also gets you learning and practicing the art of devising. Devising is the ability to create your own work and be responsible for all elements of it, the story, the asthetic, the music, the choreography, your props and costume. This is very different than just learning a choreography or script, but so rewarding because it’s all yours, it’s your creative vision coming to life. At the Showtime level you do this as a group which is a fantastic way in. The group dynamic is so important, for feedback, support and community. And guess what, most of the work you get will come from your community, so get cultivating friendships and relationships with the people that inspire you, inspiration can only lead to fabulosity with lashings of feel good wonder.

Credit: Tigz Rice Studios

2. Ready for your Spotlight?

Occasionally, if you’ve had a lot of performance experience or at least beginner level burlesque experience you can skip Showtime and go straight to Spotlight. And if you’ve just graduated from Showtime, The Spotlight Advanced Course is the next step. Why does the Spotlight course have such success? Because it’s 12 classes running over 12 weeks completely dedicated to you creating your solo act and not just a solo burlesque act but an act that reflects the uniqueness of you. Then add on a tonne of support from Master class teachers like award winning Aurora Galore and supremely talented striptease teacher Felicity Furore. Your peer group, your lead teacher and the cheekette community (find out more about them here) all leading you to your Spotlight debut at a well known Burlesque or Theatre Venue.

Credit: Tigz Rice Studios

3. Lights Camera Action

So now you’ve created an act you love, you’ve finished the course and graduated with sparkle honours. How do you go about getting your first burlesque gig. The very first things you will need is a video of your act and photos. Which is why we offer the opportunity to have your act photographed and videod by some of the best in the business at a super discounted cheekette rate on your graduation night. Meaning you are ready to go. This is one of the best ways of promoting your act, plus you’ll be guaranteed good lighting and a great audience at a Cheek of It! Show. If you didn’t graduate with us then the very first thing you need to do is arrange a photoshoot and have your act filmed. Your video needs to look as professionally filmed and edited as possible to capture your work and help you stand out. These things can all add up, but without them you won’t get much further. Alongside performance shots, you will also need promotional shots. These can be in a studio or on location but they must be professional. Check our recommendations for videographers and photographers at the bottom of this blog.

Credit: Tigz Rice Studios

4. Social Media Starlette

Now you’ve got your video and pictures, it’s time to set up your online presence, so much work and communication happens through social media you really can’t get by without it. The basics are Facebook and Twitter, set up a FB page and twitter handle for your burlesque persona. Set up a separate profile to connect with fellow performers and producers. Instagram is also wonderful capturing your creative costumes and new makeup styles. It’s important to be active daily, keep your content positive and inspiring and above all professional.

Credit: Tigz Rice Studios

5. Getting Your Experience

It’s important to manage your expectations. For those of us who trained at drama or dance school, it’s a little known secret that you will do a lot of work for free, expenses or profit share when you first start. The same applies to burlesque. The more you are known and the more gigs you do, the sooner you are likely to start commanding a fee. Here are a few places to get started. Very often Cheek of it graduates turned producers will come and watch your graduation show so you may get your first gig this way, but if not, consider entering a newcomers competition. The two most popular are Burlesque Idol and Infinitease. At the same time offer to stage kitten for other shows, Stage kitten is our name for a stage manager’s assistant. Normally you get to show off a bit of your character during your role and it’s a great way to meet producers and fellow performers. Enter Festivals, there are many across the UK, from the London Burlesque Festival every May to The North Wales Festival and one in Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire. Connect with Cheekettes past and present, Big Sister/Brother Project, Burlesque jobs paid and unpaid on facebook and look out for opportunities to perform and get involved in productions and events

Credit: Tigz Rice Studios

6. Cultivating Your skills and talent as a burlesque performer

As part of your on going development it’s important you develop your skills and cultivate your talent. One of the biggest areas I’ve noticed that needs work is posture, poise and movement (unless you’ve spent years in ballet class or have a dance degree) it’s must, these skills make you look polished and help you compete alonsgside performers who have trained all their lives. it’s a great idea to go to a weekly, ballet, belly dance. jazz class or burlesque class, whatever style inspires you, but make it fun and maybe go with your fellow burly classmates. Alongside this, there are always master classes in Burlesque to help you cultivate your talent. From nipple tassel twirling to fan dance to fire breathing. And above all else, go and see as many shows as you can.

Credit: Tigz Rice Studios

7. Creating your burlesque brand

Once you’ve got a few gigs under your garter it’s a good idea to start thinking about your brand or what sets you apart. I see this very much as a process, rarely does a performer get this right straight away, finding out what you’re good at, what inspires you and what works for you is part of the adventure, don’t put pressure on yourself to be the complete package because over time it will become clear. Keep note of what you like and don’t like, what lights you up and what doesn’t float your boat. Sooner or later your unique style, look and acts will make themselves known to you and the wider community.

8. Your Second Act

Most promoters will expect you to have two acts so you can appear twice in one show. This is why we created the Siren Course, The Siren runs for 6 weeks across the summer with a showcase aboard the famous Battersea Barge on the Thames. The point of this course is to give you the space, support and deadline to create your second act. Many students use this course to create their third or fourth act too. You can find out more about the Siren course here.
If you’re done with courses, there is nothing to stop you creating an act on your own and remember you still have the support of all the women you trained with to help you create something wonderful.

9. Don’t Make It About The Money

So when can you start getting paid? And what do you even charge? My general rule of thumb and what I was told, is start by making sure your fee covers your expenses, £50 for your travel, and any consumables. After that £75-£150 is a pretty normal fee. Judge the style of the event you are asked to perform at. How much are the ticket prices, is it in a theatre or just above a pub. Often promoters and producers put on their own shows for the love of it and there just isn’t a lot of money to be made. Some shows however make a lot of money and you’re totally within your rights to be paid correctly. At a certain point like after a year you may decide you are no longer willing to work for free. This is a great decision to make but only if you’ve done all the above. Often after making such a decision you will start attracting better gigs and better money which is very satisfying. And if you can get some corporate or international gigs you can be charging anything for £150 to £500.

10. Behind the Glamour

At the Cheek of It! We create a warm and wonderful environment for you to experience burlesque and blossom into gorgeous performers. There are many events, nights, organisations, promoters, producers who will help and nurture you along your journey. The Burlesque and Cabaret community is on the whole filled with amazing people dedicated to making great stuff happen and even greater friends along the way. However it would be naive to assume everybody has your best interests at heart. You must follow your gut, if you are asked to do something you are not comfortable with don’t do it, if you feel unsafe tell someone or leave, pay attention to your health and safety and check in with yourself whether a promoter/producer/venue feels trustworthy and like somewhere you want to perform with. And…..don’t give up your day job, burlesque is an art form and just like theatre or dance or singing or painting, very few actually make a full paying career out of it. Costumes, makeup, lessons etc all cost money, so for many burlesque starts and continues as a glamorous, hobby or part time job which pretty much pays for itself and for a few it can turn into a wonderful full time career but even those performers will take on costume making or teaching to help pay for the glitter.

11. That said…It’s totally worth it

It’s so worth it, I’ve seen this wonderful scene change so many women’s lives. Finding a creative outlet and bringing your dreams to life is priceless. Plus you will make a gazillion friends and have so much fun!! From confidence building to career changing, you will get so much out of your burlesque adventure.

An overview of how to become a burlesque performer
Ok, let’s sum up, take a class or as many as you need to create your first act. Get it photographed and filmed, add on some promotional shots. Set up your social media presence, enter a competition or three, offer to stage kitten or help out at shows. Chat, Chat, Chat with those who inspire you. When you can, create your second act, work on your brand and before you know it you’ll be gigging like a pro.

Myself and The Cheekette Girls wish you so much glitter and good times, we are proud of you and delighted for you for being brave enough to step up to your Spotlight, and regardless of whether you trained with us or not we are always at the end of the phone or email, happy to answer all your questions or point you towards the sparkle.

12. Recommended Links

For courses we recommend
Beginners Showtime
Advanced Spotlight
Super Advanced Sirens

For photographers we recommend
Tigz Rice
Sin Bozkurt
V’s Anchor Studio
Grace Gelder
Cherry Bomb Rock
Doll House Photography uk

For Video we recommend
Triple A Films

Burlesque Idol

London Burlesque Festival
Hebden Bridge Festival
North Wales Burlesque Festival

Begin Your Burlesque Journey Here

Our burlesque classes are all about feeling sexy and beautiful in yourself and letting that shine through. Want to know more?

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Russian Burlesque Factory | My friend, yes you are a transformer


Text: Alexandra Sivtsova

Editor: Olya Osipova

Photo: Maria Ionova-Gribina

November 22, 2019

The first beginnings of burlesque in Russia appeared relatively recently, although historically it, like social dance, is almost a hundred years old. The Moscow burlesque group Ladies of the Burlesque formed spontaneously two years ago. During this time, the first artist of boylesque appeared in Russia, the first artist of drag queen burlesque, engineers, scientists and teachers took part in the show. Samizdat author Alexandra Sivtsova met the deputy director of a trading company who dresses up as a poodle in the evenings, found the "mothers" of Russian burlesque and found out how the drag queen became part of their family.

Every weekday at eight in the morning, Deputy Director Ilya wakes up in his apartment in Zhulebino. While his wife Tatyana and two cats, Kefir and Eustace, remain in bed, Ilya is getting ready for work. If Ilya does not get enough sleep, he goes to the office by metro, and then on the way he manages to take a nap for almost an hour more. Twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Ilya takes with him a bag with sports tights, and sometimes with heels and feather suits. At eight in the evening he leaves the office of a company that sells multimedia equipment and goes to Dubrovka. Here, in a hundred-square-meter mirrored dance hall, rehearsing with his friend and choreographer Vanya, Ilya transforms into Elisha and trains for a burlesque show. Vanya helps put numbers and stretches Elisha. Once Ilya could sit on the twine, and now he needs to return to his former form.

Back in kindergarten, Elisha wanted to play not a bunny boy, but a fox with plush ears at a matinee. Now in the apartment of a 35-year-old man in the hallway there is a huge, almost two-meter fox: if you look into his eyes for a long time, it seems that he is alive. The huge fox was made by Elisha's wife. Everyone calls her Bast, but in general she is Tatyana, a designer and costume designer of the furry subculture: this is when people define their inner animal, dress up as it and go to parties together. In furries, Elisha is a fox, for a young man it is a symbol of a conductor between worlds, and he feels like a conductor all his life. Breaking stereotypes and ideas about what a man should be, Elisha does not hesitate to dress up as poodles and phoenixes, crawl on her knees, undress and dance boylesque, even when male viewers laugh at him and leave his performances.

Elisha with wife

Ilya didn't expect to be the first boyesque artist in Russia. At the age of 17, he watched the film "Showgirls" and "Moulin Rouge!": "Then I had a desire to go on stage in feathers and become a beautiful doll, but I didn’t even think about burlesque." Since then, the young man dreamed of dressing up like movie characters and transforming from a man into an androgynous creature in male and female images at the same time: “It fascinated me - reincarnation with the help of makeup and elements in costumes. This caused a violent reaction of adrenaline, trembling in the body, emotional arousal. Elisha liked that he could look different, it was like learning to fly in his sleep for him.

From that time on, the young man decided to put on performances. “For about ten years I have been wanting to make a production, an evening or a night, when people would come and go inspired, inspired, so that they would cry with joy, sadness during the evening, so that it would be a kind story that would hook everyone. I like to make flashes. I want to do a show for one time, for several evenings that will never happen again, ”says Elisha. He wants his work to bring him money on which he could live, but so far this has not worked out: “I haven’t gotten to that yet. The idea is only in my head. Now I’m just making a name for myself so that later I can confidently stand on my feet and do projects.”

"A man is a man of mission"

The young man calls his routine of life in one word - "trash". “It's difficult now. Hope it gets easier. So I can’t stand it for a long time, although I have had similar periods. It’s bad that I can’t devote enough time to creativity, because I’m busy with work. Ilya is the thing that holds everything else. Ilya is a person who goes to work, is engaged in business, someone real in this real world. In the same Ilya, there is Elisha, and the fox, and someone else. I try to combine all this, because if you jump sharply from one to the other, then you can go crazy.

Elisha imagines his ideal life as follows: he has some kind of project, possibly online, that supports him financially, and the rest of the time he is engaged only in creativity, creating images, training, coaching and motivating others. “For example, people now turn to me with the words:“ Damn, you have such a body! How do you do it?“ And I tell. I also love being a photo model. I wouldn't do just boyles. It's like having a 'public figure' status on Instagram: I'd like to be a public figure in the creative aspect."

In grief, in joy, in a striptease

Anastasia Evsinekina, Nina Abrosimova

How a married couple of strippers lives, known throughout Smolensk. Jealousy, silicone breasts at the expense of the institution and a mother who still does not know

Elisha used to have a period when he could lie for days and think about the meaning of life: “I like to delve into myself, but now I try not to do it. There was depression, nothing like that happened, but I wondered: in principle, what is the meaning of life? There was a syndrome of obsessive thoughts, which constantly pressed. I compared myself with my friends, I thought that they had achieved more.” But about a year ago, after a small operation, he lost the desire to just lie around doing nothing. In the hospital, Ilya lay alone in the ward and thought that he was still quite young for operations. Something needs to be done, changed. A month later, he got to Ladies of Burlesque, where Elisha was born.

“I find it emotionally disgusting to be idle now. Even if I was with friends, I would rather not hang out and drink beer, but go to the forest for firewood. Therefore, the moments when I just lie and think are less and less. If you think, then about the meaning of life, and this is harmful. Naturally, there is no meaning to life, in fact. It is impossible to get to the bottom of it, and the only way is to live. All these thoughts are harbingers of a crisis. A crisis often happens when you start comparing yourself to others. There are guys my age in Russia who have achieved much more. But I am already calmed by the fact that I have made some contribution to the history of Russian burlesque. The man is a man of mission. Everything is simpler for a woman in this regard: she has a life, at home, so that everything is fine, ”the first boylesk artist in Russia reflects.

"I ordered shoes that were small - but don't care, I'm a man"

New Year 2019 Seva spends at the Boy-Z club, where drag queens perform. This is his third working day in a row, and the young man is very tired. It’s hard for him to perform: it’s not easy to amuse people when you are depressed. Seva wants to rest. Everyone in the club is having fun under the chiming clock: drag artists perform on stage, guests drink. Seve becomes sad. Tears flow from the fact that for the first time he spends the New Year not with his family, but at work. Seva decides that the best way to drown out her longing is to get drunk. It's his turn to perform: he has one of the final numbers in the New Year's show. He goes on stage and is sure that he dances beautifully: “I played with the eyes of the audience, tried to perform the choreography, but it turned out that all this was not comme il faut, and I ruined the New Year's show. ” When Seva finished the number, his friends said that they would most likely give him a fine for such a dance. The artist is shown a video from the performance, and he becomes very embarrassed for himself: he danced terribly. And after that, Seva was really fined, and besides, they were also fired: “It was like losing a real job, because Vanilla occupies two suitcases and two wardrobes. After that, I didn’t have a place to perform.”

Seva is 21 years old, studying to be an actor and performs as a drag artist. At the age of 19, he created the private Instagram My Vanilla Absolute, where he began posting make-up videos. A little later, having plucked up the courage, the young man and his friends went to learn how to act as a drag queen in Drag University Boy-Z. “I ordered shoes that were small, but don't care, I'm a man. Bought a wig, created a cabaret look and performed under All That Jazz. Mom knows everything, the first time I performed in her overalls and sundress. She supports me, asks me to show the video from the performances, praises the make-up if she likes it. She understands me, and we had no conflicts on this topic, ”recalls Seva. Six months later, under the pseudonyms Eva Trauf and Vanilla, he was already receiving the first money for his show at the Boy-Z club. “When I am in character, I communicate with people, then I am she. This girl is interesting, she is the center of attention, hihi, haha. And then there is Seva. And he wants to get home under the covers as soon as possible. We even look at the same people differently. Mild split personality. And Seva has a lot more complexes, ”says the young man. For him, Vanilla is a way to meet anyone, to be in the center of everyone's attention, to approach someone and joke. Seva can also be in the spotlight, but only in a narrow circle of friends: “These are two sides of me, so there are no contradictions between us. Vanilla is a defense, a bright joker who jokes, sometimes very vulgarly. Determining factor: it appears when I put on my eyelashes. A woman's insidious look comes out, and I no longer see Seva. Seva got into burlesque by accident. After losing his job at Boy-Z, the young man decided to take part in a photo contest from Moscow kinky parties.

Kinky parties and burlesque

Taya, one of the founders of kinky parties and the show Ladies of Burlesque, has been interested in the topic of sex all her life, she wanted to discuss it with her friends, but they did not want to. Taya was lonely, and she felt misunderstood, not like everyone else - until she got to Berlin for kinky parties. “It felt like home, and I realized that I can not feel strange, that there are people who also study the topic of sex.” Then Taya, together with her friend Tanya, decided to build an active sex community in Moscow themselves. At one of the kinky parties, the girls were invited to perform by Anya Pavlova, at that time the most famous burlesque artist in Russia. Taya really liked Anya's performance, and she went to her courses to stage her dance. With her first number, Taya performed last at the kinky party. This was done on purpose so that already drunk guests would not notice the mistakes. But the girl liked the performance so much that she decided to continue: “I am not a dancer, but a burlesque and does not require you to be professional in this sense. Here you need charisma and artistic inclinations. There was no Ladies of Burlesque show at that time.

How I was harassed for acting in porn

Ekaterina Kozlova, Konstantin Valyakin, Vika Shibaeva

To get out of Kupchin, a samizdat reader acted in porn and went to work as a manager in an escort agency, but faced bullying

Elisha and Tanya Dmitrieva Katerina Sahara

The first show was organized when Anya Pavlova decided to move to Berlin to start a full-fledged serious career as a burlesque artist there. Together with Taya and Tanya, they organized a farewell party, which set the tone. And since that time, twenty shows, five master classes and five Ladies of the Burlesque bar parties have already taken place. “The audience is growing with us. The viewer is an accomplice in the process, this is very important. He gets involved, applauds, and it is important that he becomes a full member of the performance, as the artists interact with him - with the whole audience. You need to be able to improvise on stage in order to get a response from the audience that is here and now, ”says Taya. At the beginning, Anya Pavlova, when she hosted the show, told the audience the story of burlesque and put a lot of emphasis on it. Gradually the public became more educated. Now almost everyone knows what burlesque is and what you need to clap and yell.

Seva as Vanilla won the competition held by Tanya and Taya for a kinky party. After that, Seva began to be invited to burlesque. So he became the first male burlesque artist.

Mother of Russian Burlesque

Almost all burlesque artists, remembering their arrival in the show, mention Anya Pavlova and call her mother. For Anya, a burlesque show is a regular job, and the number of her performances a year tends to be two hundred. But at one time it was just a hobby. Anya studied at the Faculty of Philosophy of Moscow State University and was looking for herself. She became interested in jazz music and retro culture, started swing dancing, then learned about burlesque. The girl dreamed of fabulous and beautiful shows, made burlesque her hobby, and at the same time worked as a dance teacher and translator. Five years ago, Anya came up with three burlesque numbers, went to San Francisco to her boyfriend and sent a letter to the local school, attaching a video of her performances. The girl was invited not only to meet, but to participate in the show. For several months, Anya lived in San Francisco and went on stage once a week. After that, a friend helped her organize a tour of small towns in Europe, and Anya went there with her own money. “In Europe, older couples regularly spend their free evenings coming to see half-naked girls dancing to jazz music. There it is the norm, culture and entertainment of an accessible level, part of the social dances that have existed for almost a hundred years. But in Russia this has not historically happened, this is not accepted, ”recalls Anya. Returning to Moscow, the artist continued to engage in burlesque, teach other girls, make costumes and periodically go abroad on tour. And after that she received a job offer and moved to Germany, where she began to perform regularly.

“I had no idea that I would get into burlesque. Taya, Tanya and Anya engaged me. My wife also kicked, but then they kicked,” Elisha recalls how he got into burlesque. He met Tanya and Taya at a kinky party, where he acted as an animator without sex. “Even my wife said then:“ Ahhh, you go to kinky parties. I explained to her that I go as a cosplayer, show the image, walk it on stage and have absolutely no intention of having intimate contact with others, ”says Elisha about the beginning of her journey into the world of burlesque. The spouses did not attend other kinky parties, except for the "Horse", since they were not interesting for Elisha's wife. “Horse Party” is a series of sex and gay friendly parties founded in St. Petersburg, which also took place in other cities of Russia and gained its peak of popularity in 2013–2014

When Elisha went to watch a burlesque show for the first time, Taya and Tanya introduced him to Anya Pavlova. At that time, she came from Berlin to support her artists and dance herself. The girls joked that Elisha also wants to go on stage. Elisha refused. But at the end of the evening, Anya announced to the audience that for the next show, in honor of her birthday, they promised to give her a gift - to introduce the first boyesque artist in Russia. “Then I realized that I had hit it and I had to prepare the number. I took a choreographer friend and we came up with a dance.”

Choice of format: dinner or "deshman" burlesque?

Burlesque shows come in two formats. The first is a grandiose dinner show: a big two-hour performance in a restaurant without a break, where the best of the best Russian burlesque artists are invited. More than ten numbers are shown here, guests sit at tables in front of the stage, order food and drink and look at the artists. Such shows are held once a season, two days in a row, with the same content.

The second format - bar, appeared six months ago, in the image and likeness of chamber Berlin burlesque shows in small bars. “It’s getting smaller and more modest here. One number per hour, waste and fun in the bar. This is a launching pad for beginners: beginner artists are allowed in here, who work out the numbers, train, and then they can already perform in the dinner show, ”says Tanya. She acts as a host and intentionally jokes vulgarly. “Vulgar deshman jokes in a bar format are an absolute relax. Sometimes I'm not a very cool joke, but sometimes I come up with jokes on purpose, sit down and throw ideas. We also ask guests to clap and stomp loudly. If there are a lot of newcomers, then they get a little lost and don't know how to behave. We train them." During the bar show, guests can move around, go on stage themselves and communicate a lot during breaks.

People learn about the show thanks to burlesque master classes, subscribers from social networks come, targeted advertising also works and participants of kinky parties join. Artists popularize the dance by conducting lessons and master classes, as Anya Pavlova used to do. During a break at one of the shows, a young man, a programming teacher, spoke about his wife. She attends burlesque classes and will soon be giving a demonstration show with other dancers: “I liked the aesthetics of burlesque, and I thought: I have a beautiful wife - why not? And sent her to work. Before that, he had long been signed to Tamasinushka (one of the burlesque artists. - Approx. ed.), She recruited a group; I sent an offer to my wife - she signed up and went. I'm preparing myself to go into burlesque."

The spectator Sergei at almost all shows does not look at the stage, but at his phone. He came here to support his wife. “She loves burlesque, she does a little dancing herself. We have three children and she cannot devote herself entirely to dancing. For the wife, going to the show is a surge of energy, she recharges here and then feels positive for a long time, because life depresses her. I’m neutral about the show, they don’t evoke emotions in me, ”the man explains.

Artist Recruitment

Elisha and Seva are not the only ones who were "recruited" into the show and whose life began to change dramatically after that. While Anya is performing at a variety theater in Stuttgart, Tanya and Taya are looking for new artists. For example, to fill and diversify the burlesque show at the end of this winter, they called jazz singer Marie Weinberg. “Before that, I worked as a marketer in an office for several years, and it was hard for me, I dreamed of singing professionally. And then, after the invitation, I realized that this was a signal: I quit my job in the office, switched to remote work and began to sing.

The girl enrolled in courses for beginner musicians by Rita Dakota from the Star Factory, began taking jazz vocal lessons from Anastasia Lyutova and performing at burlesque shows. Marie is 26 years old, she lives on the outskirts of Moscow, works remotely as an SMS, spends an hour on the road to the city center, where she learns to sing and dreams of becoming famous. At the age of 17, the girl became interested in pin-up culture, became a model and got acquainted with the burlesque community. Marie comes from a religious family, which made it difficult for her to openly perceive sexuality. In addition, the mother did not support her daughter's hobby: “She said:“ What is this? You have friends from the temple,” recalls Marie. Then the girl moved away from the pin-up, but returned a few years later. Since the spring of this year, she has been performing in burlesque. Previously, she was not naked, but at one of the last shows she reached a new level and took off the strap. The girl’s parents know that she is participating in the show, but they don’t know that their daughter will be naked: “They have their own prejudices: the mother is Catholic ... It will be easier for them not to know,” Marie explains.

Singer Marie Weinberg Elisha and Vanya

"More rhinestones, new feathers, damn it!"

In the burlesque environment, as in any other artistic environment, there is a place for competition. “There is professional jealousy: he, she, they do better, the suit is better, more rhinestones, new feathers, damn it! This is normal, this is competition, ”says Elisha. He does not compare himself with Russian artists: he does not believe that they can compete with him. And he singles out for himself not the artists of Russian burlesque as such, but some of their numbers.

Elisha doesn't want to be accepted normally by him and other men wearing rhinestones: “Boylesque is a complex topic in Russia and the world. Here you need to have a different worldview. Although there are regular straight guys on the show who come up and say, “Thank you very much.” It concerns the inner freedom of man.” When Elisha comes out as a gorgeous poodle and crawls onto the stage on her knees, the audience looks interested. The two men at the last table look at each other, one sips from a glass and Elisha goes to the toilet for the entire performance.

In one of his numbers, Elisha plays an anthropomorphic phoenix in a corset. Phoenix wants to become a man and in the process of transformation undresses, negotiates with a shaman, tries to pluck feathers, becomes a man - and dies. “For me, these are personal stories. Each of them reflects some of my experiences. Some things no longer bring the pleasure that they used to bring. Because they are old already,” says Elisha. After the performance, he will take off his corset and, finally turning from a Phoenix into a man, will go home to Zhulebino, where his wife Tatyana and the cats Kefir and Eustace are waiting for him. On Monday, Ilya has to get up again at eight in the morning, and he needs to sleep.

Do not believe Shura's tears

Diana Sadreeva, Tashita Bell

Samizdat investigates how the singer Shura became the main star of the queer stage of the nineties, how he lives today and why he can hardly remember the past

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How to become a dancer who doesn't get in the way?

Who is a dancer? A person who moves his arms and legs to the beat of music or his own internal rhythm is the simplest definition. From the point of view of art, the body is the same instrument as the cello or violin. This instrument expresses emotions, feelings and moods. Dancing is no less an art than wielding a brush. The harmonious unity of the mind, soul and body is important here.

Some people think that the ability to dance is an innate talent sent from above. This is not always the case, everyone can become a dancer. Anyone who loves music, who enjoys moving to it, is in fact already a dancer, in the broadest sense of the word. However, to become a truly professional dancer, you need aspiration, desire and perseverance.

As a rule, the title of a professional is given to those who have studied for several years in a dance class. Behind him are more than a dozen performances on stage, knowledge of the names of all dance movements and a pack of costumes on hangers.

When it comes to street dancing, the academic school can't help. A professional on the street is the one who dances the best in the area. Many people ask: how to become a street dancer? Only one way: watch and repeat. Watch how they do, what they do, what kind of music. Repeat at home in front of the mirror, over and over, until the result is satisfactory. The style of street dancing has long been on the stage, and you can learn it in studios with teachers. Of course, even when working in the studio, you cannot do without repetitions at home. You need to constantly hone your movements.

Success in the art of dancing directly depends on the goals set. Some want to dance professionally in the styles of Hip-Hop or Go-Go, others strive for a professional career in ballroom dancing, and others have long dreamed of participating in dance theater productions. People who from the very beginning wonder how to become a professional dancer often become the leading choreographers and art directors of their own dance studios.

Where to get knowledge to achieve your goals? We have already talked about the method of observation and self-study, as well as classes in dance circles. Another way to learn is to participate in master classes by visiting specialists and dance competitions. Any professional activity, including dancing, requires the intervention of experienced teachers. Dance competitions will help you get the necessary criticisms and tips to improve your technique. Naturally, one must be prepared for disappointments. But not a single remark should stop a true dancer on the way to his goal.

When a person thinks about how to become a good dancer, he thinks about how to acquire technique and finesse of movement, while forgetting about personal qualities. But they are no less important than the baggage of knowledge and experience gained. A lot is decided by the energy and charisma of the author of the issue. Does he have a talent, or does he mechanically repeat the learned movements? Is he lethargic or does his temperament make him get up from his chair and give a standing ovation? It is personal qualities that sound the very final chord that affects success.

Along the way, in the world of dance, physical abilities are improved, as well as spiritual traits of a person's character.

Learn more