How to dance like christina aguilera in burlesque
10 Behind The Scenes Facts About Burlesque You Didn't Know
It’s been more than a decade since Burlesque released and Steve Antin’s passion project is still considered one of the most memorable musicals Hollywood has produced. The film stars Christina Aguilera as a Burlesque ingenue Ali, who gets a chance to be the star of a Sunset Strip Burlesque club owned by a woman named Tess, played by Cher.
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This was Aguilera’s debut acting venture and though her performance was praised, the film got mixed reviews and experienced dismal box office earnings. Antin never returned to direct a motion picture although he did find success with his commercials. Years later, fans of the movie will still find the trivia just as interesting as it was in 2010.
Cher Got The Script From David Geffen
Cher actually got the copy of the script via her producer friend David Geffen who knew about the project since Culpepper and his boyfriend Antin had come up with the project on his yacht during a week-long vacation.
Antin, along with Culpepper and the couple’s producer pal Donald De Line met Cher at her Malibu mansion and after quite a bit of convincing, Cher agreed to be a part of a twenty-day filming schedule, although the production lasted about four months.
The Original Ending Was Quite Different
Antin switched the big romantic gesture-driven conclusion to a more grounded ending; the original ending was designed as an homage to Pretty Woman and the test audience reportedly found it quite derivative. It had Cam Gigandet’s Jack getting into a taxi as Aguilera's Ali climbed down a fire escape and called out his name before the couple reunited.
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The revised ending had Jack and Ali reuniting backstage at Tess' club after a fight as Jack presents Ali with the finished version of a song he’d been working on.
The Film Has A Pussycat Dolls Connection
Many people may not know this but The Pussycat Dolls was actually a burlesque dance troupe and Antin’s sister Robin created a show at the Sunset Strip’s Viper Room that would also see quite a few celebrity performances. Antin revealed that he filmed these shows into a single movie which eventually inspired Burlesque.
“My sister was getting all these celebs to appear as guest performers. I got some cameras and shot the show over a few nights and edited together a little movie. That was the genesis,” Antin said.
Antin Shot Aguilera At His Sister’s Show For The Pussycat Dolls
Aguilera was also one of the celebrities Antin’s sister Robin directed for a cameo at The Pussycat Dolls’s Viper Room show. Antin filmed Aguilera’s performance too. A few years later Antin sent her the script for the movie.
“She was sweet and said she knew about the script, but hadn’t read it yet. She finally read it and agreed to a meeting with Clint and [then-Sony Motion Picture Chairperson] Amy Pascal. I wasn’t there for that meeting, and I believe Clint helped in getting her to say yes,” Antin revealed in the same interview.
Queen Latifah Was Considered For The Role Of Tess
Antin wanted a big, familiar face for the role of Tess, and Antin had considered Queen Latifah or Michelle Pfeiffer for the role of the club owner Tess. Culpepper, Aguilera, and Antin all agreed on Cher, but the issue lay with the star’s availability.
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Cher was reportedly at a soundstage recording for Zootopia and when Culpepper found out she was there, he and Antin camped outside for quite a while, waiting for her exit, and eventually introduced themselves.
There Was A Reason Cher Mostly Wore Black Throughout The Film
Michael Kaplan who designed costumes for the film revealed in an interview that he wanted to assign a color to Cher’s character Tess and actually believed Tess and Cher to be alike in various ways, especially with respect to their professionalism. He revealed that he wanted Cher to wear black in the film but Cher bought her own styling prowess on set.
"Cher always put her imprint on everything she was wearing. I'd put clothes in her room every day and she'd walk out combining them in a different way than I thought she would. Cher and [her character] Tess are not that unalike — both are show business troupers,” Kaplan said.
Antin And Culpeppers Did Have Some Differences On Set
There were many reports that circulated during the filming of Burlesque which suggested that Antin and Culpepper would have fights on set and it delayed filming. But Culpepper revealed in an interview that though they did have disagreements, they were not creative in nature but were about scheduling issues.
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“There weren’t creative differences. There wasn’t anything Steven wanted, creatively, that anybody disagreed with. The controversy on the set was the number of days and getting the movie done so it wouldn’t go over budget…. Steven got it and achieved his vision…. The disagreements came from, we didn’t have time, we have to move on,” Culpepper said.
Why Cher Really Accepted A Supporting Role
The reason Cher accepted a supporting role in a film was that she believed this may be her last opportunity to be in a starring role where she gets to sing.
“I wanted to sing, I’ve never been able to sing in a movie. I was offered Mamma Mia with Meryl Streep but I was on the road so I couldn't do it. And so I thought this may be the last time I will be able to sing in a film and I just wanted to do it,” Cher had revealed during the red carpet of the film’s premiere.
Juno Screenwriter Diablo Cody Revised The Script Uncredited
Many fans have wondered if Burlesque used an original screenplay. The film’s script was written by Antin but it was revised by names like Diablo Cody and Susannah Grant uncredited. In fact, Cody even opened up about how people ask her about projects she was only briefly involved with.
“You know what’s funny? Okay, so there’s a movie like Burlesque that came out a long time ago and I was one of 900 writers that worked on it, and people will still ask me about my involvement in Burlesque. I’m like, ‘That was a week of my life,” she remarked once.
Aguilera Has Always Been Familiar with Burlesque History
The reason Aguilera could seamlessly step into the role of the burlesque performer Ali was that she had already done her homework. The performer had in fact, been a collector of burlesque archive and had researched burlesque and drag culture vividly, specifically for one of her albums.
“I collected books, had played with burlesque style on my Back to Basics tour, and explored visual concepts and songs (including “Nasty Naughty Boy,” about a striptease),” Aguilera shared.
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Celebrating the 10th anniversary of ‘Burlesque’
“It’s a life, it’s a style, it’s a need, it’s burlesque.”
It was 10 years ago when these words were sung on the silver screen as tasteful, scantily clad dancers moved around a stage with sensuality and strength alongside stars including Christina Aguilera and Cher.
Before selecting their dancers, the choreographers and associate choreographers for Burlesque took their time with a skeleton crew to get the numbers just right. After working on the pieces for about three-and-a-half months, they went through a rigorous audition process for the dancers.Tyne Stecklein and Cher in ‘Burlesque’. Photo by Stephen Vaughan.
“There were so many auditions for the movie,” shares Melanie Lewis-Yribar, who was both a dancer and associate choreographer. “It was very, very specific.” So specific, Lewis-Yribar had to audition to be a dancer despite coming up with choreography for the film.
“At the time, I remember the movie was this really big deal and this really big job that every girl in LA was trying to get,” recalls Tanee McCall, who played the character Scarlett. “It was a SAG [Screen Actors Guild] job, we got health insurance, we were on payroll, and we knew we would have a job for at least five or six months.”
Once all of the dancers were selected, they spent another two to three months, including weekends, getting the routines just right. Even though the process was exhausting, it was empowering.
“I was young when I did that film, maybe 21, and it was the first time I danced in a mature and sexy way that still felt really classy,” explains Tyne Stecklein, who played the character of Jesse. “I was proud to be part of it. I felt the most feminine and empowered than I ever have.”Tanee McCall. Photo courtesy of McCall.
“To go through all of those months of rehearsal and then go to set and see it brought to life, it brought me chills every time,” McCall says. “A lot went into us looking the way we did. We are all fit, beautiful women, but a lot of professionals added extensions and eyelashes and contour. They fitted costumes, and fishnets were dyed to our exact skin color. Every little detail you could think of was thought of to have it come together. You felt so powerful.”
The movie centers around a young, driven woman who moves to Los Angeles to pursue her dream, which is something the cast could relate to with their own professional journey.
“I moved to Los Angeles when I was 18 with a dream of pursuing a profession in dance,” Stecklein says. “My advice for young dancers who want to dance professionally is you have to be two feet in and 100 percent committed because there are enough people who are fully committed. It’s easy to get discouraged if you aren’t or if you have other things you’re passionate about.”
“Everyone in LA is a great dancer, but who will come on time consistently with a good attitude? Who won’t talk back? Who won’t bring negativity? It’s a creative space, it’s a creative environment,” McCall says. “Choreographers need to have an open space without feeling any bad vibes. Be consistent, show up every day, and give it your all. There’s a misconception that it’s what you do in the studio and how you dance, but that’s the easy part. It’s everything else that really makes a professional dancer.”
“Everyone’s journey is different with how you get there, but at the end of the day if you can check off any of your goals, then you have succeeded,” Lewis-Yribar says. “That’s a really important thing to remember in this day and age with Instagram and influencers and YouTube sensations. People feel it’s not good enough unless you are totally famous or have millions of followers and everyone knows your name. That’s not true. You are good enough.”
Whether they were green in the industry or one of the “older” dancers in the film, each of Dance Informa’s interviewees felt Burlesque left them with learning lessons that inspired the next moves in their career.
“In general, the film taught me to appreciate what I have and what I have to offer,” Lewis-Yribar reveals. “Being a part of the team made me understand I had a good, clear perspective of what I thought was interesting and that I could push a song forward. I knew I was truly ready to have a voice as a choreographer.”Tyne Stecklein. Photo by Stephen Vaughan.
Stecklein recalls a special moment she had with Cher that she has kept with her as she advanced in both dancing and acting. During one of her scenes, she shared lines with Cher. It’s common for a short line that well-known actors are not on set. Instead, someone else will read the line off camera to the actor. However, Cher decided to stay on set that night to read her line back, even though she was wrapped for the day. “It was really special and eye-opening,” Stecklein says. “When you see someone like Cher who displayed respect for someone like me, who was much lower than her on the totem pole, that really taught me a lot.”
Ten years later, the experience still brings up fond memories for those who were involved, as well as some valuable life lessons.
“At the time, I was excited to have something on my credits that was more acting that had lines,” McCall shares. “I was trying to get out of dancing, so I was looking at it as an opportunity to bridge my career and get out of dancing. Now that hindsight is 20/20, I wish that I was able to enjoy the moment more and not take for granted what that opportunity was and being in the midst of so much talent around me and just appreciating it.”
“I can’t even believe it has been as long as it has,” Stecklein expresses. “It was a really, really wonderful experience for me. For my generation, it was really special to be a female and be a dancer in that film. ”
“I’m super excited it’s the anniversary,” Lewis-Yribar notes. “It was a special moment in time, and it’s awesome how much dancers love it and appreciate how hard we danced.”
Want to learn the moves from the movie? Visit Melanie Lewis-Yribar’s website and learn the moves from “Express” for free!
By Lauren Kirchmyer of Dance Informa.
Related Items:Burlesque, Cher, Choreographer, choreographers, choreography for film, Christina Aguilera, dance film, interviews, Melanie Lewis-Yribar, Screen Actors Guild, Tanee McCall, Tyne Stecklein
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All for dance dance 90,000 "Burlesque" injured the actors
The stunning American movie musical " Burlesque " with megastars Cherie Christina Aguilera is released in Russia.
Everything ingenious is simple. Creators of Burlesque "taken as a basis an old, old story that has been repeatedly used in world cinema - about a girl from a deep province who dreams of fame as a singer and dancer. How many of these films do we remember? Dozens, hundreds? From "Funny Girl" to Lioznov's " Carnival ", from " Heavenly Swallows " to the film " Lev Gurych Sinichkin "... But, as it turns out, the main thing in this case is not "what" but "who"... Sher and Christina Aguilera saturate the well-worn plot with adrenaline, musical fury, irony and touching.
Cher played the role of Tess , the hostess of the once popular Los Angeles cabaret Burlesque. The former glory of the institution has been lost, and although the owner of the institution herself sometimes performs on the stage, demonstrating amazing live vocals, the cabaret will be in a financial hole not today or tomorrow. This is where Eli ( Christina Aguilera ) appears - a girl with burning eyes. She is ready to work here even as a waitress - just to breathe this air, watch these dance numbers and sing along to the songs rushing from the soundtrack - all the girls, except for the divine Tess, only open their mouths on stage . ..
Pursuing his dream, Eli makes friends with all the inhabitants of the cabaret - from Tess and her ironic gay assistant ( Stanley Tucci ) to the handsome bartender Jack (Cam Gigandet ). Eli even acquires a dangerous enemy in the person of the soloist of the troupe - an eccentric alcoholic (Kristen Bell) ... One day - as it should be in vaudeville - the soloist will be removed from the show, she will urgently need to be replaced by someone. So Eli will take the stage for the first time. It will come out and outshine everyone: with amazingly strong vocals (one of the heroines of the film rightly remarks: “White girls don’t sing like that!”) And incendiary dances.
Eli will get people going! The Burlesque club will gradually crawl out of the debt hole. A talented girl will make an amazing offer for a solo career.
And here is the main question: will Eli betray the people who have become her family? Will she manage to get away from Jack, whom she is in love with, to a handsome oligarch?. ..
Tons of cosmetics and Swarovski crystals
For a long time in the West, burlesque was considered a synonym for striptease. They say that the show " Moulin Rouge" is to blame for everything, in which the beauties flaunted their bare breasts and barely covered booty. Movie director Steve Antin decided to return the genre to its original meaning. Here is what he says about it:
- Burlesque is an entertaining performance with songs, dances, stories and parodies. Burlesque is often on the edge. These performances are always sexy somewhere, but they are never about sex...
And it's true: the girls' outfits are shockingly frank - transparent lace, strands of pearls instead of panties and bras - but if you take a closer look, you will notice that all this "transparency" is imaginary , it’s just that the fabrics are matched to match the skin tone so much that it seems like the girls are naked… However, when the girls start to sing, you forget what they are wearing. Vocals, witty lyrics, complexly staged dances turn the action into something more than an erotic performance.
Entin tried to create a special atmosphere for the Burlesque club. The result is a kind of magical place that takes a person to a parallel reality. It is impossible to say what age you found yourself in - in the early 20s, 40s or 60s? Bartenders wear vests over their naked bodies and bowlers, their eyes are thickly lined, but their bodies are pumped up and decorated with tattoos... The girls try on masks of film stars - Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, but at the same time demonstrate the technique of modern dance...
Here's what the director has to say about this: “Ali Rose walks down the stairs to the Burlesque hall as if she were Alice in the rabbit hole. Eli descends the stairs and is greeted by a man who looks suspiciously like the Mad Hatter…
To recreate the atmosphere of the “rabbit hole”, or rather, the decaying luxury of the Burlesque Club, the scenery was built for six weeks. Dressing rooms, corridors, club offices, a stage - there were no cardboard tricks anywhere, in fact, a full-fledged functioning club was built. To achieve authenticity, the artists used photographs of old French clubs. In the pictures, by the way, copper forging, leather upholstery were “peeped” ...
As for the incredible costumes of the cabaret participants, it took about 80,000 pieces of costume jewelry to finish them. Plus, separately, Swarovski stones, with which all corsets, panties, bras are sheathed - 250,000 pieces of fifteen different colors weighing about 1.3 tons.
An amazing thing: two different teams of stylists worked on the image of Cher and Aguilera! The image of Cher's character was entrusted to makeup artist Leonard Engelman and stylist Maria Serenella Radalli .
Worked on Aguilera's image Christopher Buckle and Friede Aradottir .
Another 15 make-up artists took care of the rest of the girls. They worked in 4 (!) special trailers, literally stuffed with cosmetics and wigs. One trailer was completely given over to make-up ... of the body. During difficult dances, the actresses of the film received so many abrasions and bruises that the airbrushes used to cover up bruises did not turn off from morning to evening.
And how the wigs were attached! Aguilera hid her luxurious long hair under a short wig - to look like Marilyn Monroe - and danced in it, turning her head wildly and ... risking losing it ...
In one of the episodes of the film, Aguilera gradually undresses and appears on the screen completely naked, covering herself only with a downy fan. Costume designer Kaplan claims that the singer was wearing a nude suit, skillfully imitating nudity. And in another episode on the beauties of the cabaret - an outfit of gold chains. So: it was made of rubber, special plumbing gaskets were bought in plumbing stores and painted with gold paint
Of course, if it were not for the participation of Cher and Aguilera, no amount of Swarovski crystals would have saved the film. The filmmakers were literally chasing after Cher - it was not so easy to persuade her to reappear on the big screen after a seven-year break.
— I have been poor, I have also been rich. It’s better to be rich,” Cher replied, and eventually agreed to play the role of Tess, who looked a lot like herself. The heroine turned out to be strong, witty, kind, vulnerable and ... touchingly unhappy.
It was Christina Aguilera's acting debut. Director Entin had been friends with her for a long time, but the decisive moment for him was her performance in the American comedy show Saturday Night Live , which airs live on Saturday nights on NBC. As Christina herself says, her interest in the project woke up when she was imbued with the fate and experiences of Eli:
— I completely understood this girl. She has a dream, and it does not come true right away and not at all easily. They do not hear her, they do not want to hear her, and only after many attempts does she manage to win respect. Success does not come to her immediately, first you have to fail many times.
The songs in the film are solid hits. Cher performs two, Aguilera a lot more. It can be predicted with confidence that the soundtrack of the film will be sold in a frenzied circulation and will receive all conceivable film awards. In addition to acting, singing and dancing, Christina Aguilera participated in the creation of songs from the film: "Express", "Bound to You" and "Show Your Burlesque". Aguilera herself offered herself as a composer, and Entin happily agreed, but with one condition.
– Christine asked: “What happens if I write a song and you don't like it? Is she not in the movie? I say, "It won't." But Christina is like that, she is ready to constantly test herself, she is not afraid of trials. She sat down to write and gave out song after song, and everything sounded great. We discussed a lot what the songs were. I wrote only introductory: what is it about, what mood, what does it talk about.