Today, I was asked how I got into Burlesque.
I replied, "That's a LONG story." I'll make it short-ish for ya'll but I'd also like to take a moment to define Burlesque as well as explain WHY I do Burlesque and why I am now a Personal Success Coach who uses Burlesque movement and dance (among other things) to work with women on their body confidence and self esteem, A.K.A "It Factor."
Definition of Burlesque:
For a brief history of burlesque, click here:
OK, so, why do I do it?
The ink was barely dry on my divorce papers when I was at a dance club in Los Angeles with some friends. My friends were dancing up a storm while I sat out, terrified. I was NOT a dancer. I was also shy, inhibited, reserved and had a huge spiky wall up around me with the body language to match. I literally SCARED men away! The next day, I sat at my computer and looked for burlesque classes because I wanted to "Learn to dance sexy". I dragged my friend Emily with me so I wouldn't be alone and scared. Fast forward to the two of us barefoot in a dance studio, laughing at ourselves in the mirror. I could not even shake my hips properly but I was hooked nonetheless. I was hooked on the fun, the laughter and watching myself move my hips suggestively in the mirror as I had NEVER done before. Ok, maybe I did in the late 80's when I was dancing in the mirror to Madonna songs but that's totally different. Suddenly, I felt alive, free and confident despite feeling unsure. I felt SEXY, alluring and beautiful.
I signed up for the next class and privates with the studio owner and over the next few months I began to acquire pieces with which I would build a costume while crafting a solo dance piece with my teacher. She created most of the choreography while I built a pair of red feather fans with 48 feathers, a glue gun and 2 sets of wooden fan staves. Within in a few months, she asked me to guest star with the burlesque troupe that she then managed. I was floored but I said YES! and freaked out for the next month while getting ready to take my clothes off in public for the first time. The photo below is from that first performance :)
Despite the fact that the head of my employer's legal department was in the audience that night (yes, seriously), I was hooked. I never looked back.
Ok, Madeline.... so why do you REALLY do it?
Because even if I'm dancing for myself, I feel alive and free and sexy and beautiful. Even if I have no makeup on and I'm wearing my pyjamas, I feel powerful, significant and creative. l feel limitless and like I can take on the world. At the end of the day, this is mine. I don't do it for approval or validation or acceptance. I do it for me every time I walk into a dance studio and every time I step on-stage. Dancing gave me SO MUCH CONFIDENCE: I became a great presenter, a great first date and even discovered that I'm funny (I never thought I was funny)! I learned how to be that girl who owns the room when she walks in.
On top of that, once I started teaching this to women, I watched them go through the same metamorphosis that I did: a transformation from within from feeling like JUST a divorcee, a mom, a wife, a corporate gal (Insert your word here) to feeling gorgeous, special, strong, limitless and unstoppable. It's my dream that ALL women feel as gorgeous and incredible as they really are. It's my dream that we never LOSE our It Factor in the first place and our girls grow up feeling positive and wonderful and powerful. I hold that vision for women every day.
I hope that answered some questions!
If you have any other questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org