The Burlesque Bible – How To Be A Burlesque StarPosted by Holly Anderson on June 8 2017.
Burlesque may have begun in the nineteenth century, but recently there has been a great burlesque comeback. This revival isn’t just focused on traditional burlesque dancing, stripping and performing – it’s a complete way of life! However there are still many out there that will be unsure as to what exactly burlesque is and find the whole burlesque scene daunting.
Polestars have come up with The Burlesque Bible that has everything that you will need to know about the world of burlesque in order for you to become a true Burlesque Star!
The 10 Commandments
*Thou shall always have perfectly styled hair, manicured nails and flawless make up.
*Thou shall celebrate thy figure – thou shall not disguise but always accentuate.
*Thou shall have a personal mantra that thou shall repeat to thyself each day (e.g. ‘I am a sexual dominatrix!’ or ‘I am a unique beauty’).
*Thou shall always wiggle when walking – thou should walk like a star; with poise, grace and confidence.
*Thou shall always wear stockings (never tights) and well-fitted sexy underwear.
*Thou shall dress to perfection everyday.
*Thou must be able to walk in towering high heels!
*Thou shall have a signature burlesque prop (like Dita’s Martini Glass).
*Thou shall be polite, charming, elegant and confident at all times.
*Thou shall learn the art of nipple tassel twirling. Buy nipple tassles online at the Polestars Shop!
History of Burlesque (the boring bit!)
It was used by working class performers as a way of mocking the upper class social, cultural and political fashions and traditions. Therefore burlesque was an art form best described as a combination of comedy sketches, parody, theatrical performance, entertainment, dance and the infamous striptease (though what was considered as a striptease then is very different to what is a striptease nowadays!)
Originally it focused on turning social norms head over heels, such as using ideas of undress to parody the upper class standards of appropriate dress in polite society. Therefore burlesque played on the audiences’ lust and desires for laughter and bawdiness, and became increasingly risqué with time. Now burlesque is back and darling it is everywhere!
Celebrities & Stars
Name me anyone that hasn’t heard of Dita von Teese, the undisputed Queen of Burlesque and I’ll eat my burlesque feathery fan! Starting out in a strip club, Dita is now easily the most recognisable face of modern burlesque. Bringing the classic pin up imagery to a modern day audience, Dita follows in the footsteps of legends like Lili St. Cyr, Sally Rand, and Gypsy Rose Lee. Some images will go down in history and this is true of Dita adorning thousands of Swarovski crystals in a giant martini glass.
Back over the pond in little old Britain, we have the international showgirl superstar, Immodesty Blaize. Having performed all over the globe, for clients such as Cartier and Dior, Immodesty is renowned for her extravagant original signature act with her eight foot Swarovski encrusted rocking horse!
Other past stars to consider for their chic style and elegant glamour are Mae West, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, who were never anything but fabulous. Bettie Page became a star for her fetish and pin up modelling the 1950s.
Burlesque influences many modern day celebrities too such as the Pussy Cat Dolls, who started out as a burlesque troupe before becoming a pop act. Christina Aguilera is a perfect example of a current starlet oozing the old fashion glamour of a bygone era in style and soon to be in film! Girls Aloud came over all burlesque for their costumes on stage for their concerts.
Fashion & Beauty
One of the areas of modern day life that has been hugely influenced by burlesque recently is fashion and beauty. It can also be said that fashion and beauty has in turn attributed to the regeneration of burlesque. With an emphasis on individualism and creativity in dress, burlesque fashion is perfect for the current day fashionista.
Body Shape – Unlike a lot of other fashion, burlesque doesn’t concentrate on the idea of being waif thin to look good, in fact quite the opposite. The more curvaceous the better – it is about creating a silhouette, that Marilyn hour glass figure, regardless of whether this is natural or by using clothing and accessories like cinch belts.
Accessories – The easiest way to feel more glamorous is to get accessorising. For your hair, why not try some flowers or some feathery pins. Burlesque mini top hats, pill box hats and veils also instantly add glamour. Corsages and broaches are also great accessories and you don’t have to go vintage hunting for these, just pop down to Topshop! Fans and props are great for burlesque dancing or just some fun at home! However though, let’s not forget one of the most important accessories for any burlesque queen – The Nipple Tassles. These can be purchases at shops like Ann Summers or online. The art of nipple tassle twirling is much trickier than you might think, and Polestars have put together this great video to get you twirling home!
Underwear – Every aspiring burlesque queen must have at least one good set of sexy underwear, so think stockings, suspenders, sheer negligees, and frilly knickers – the full works. Definitely no white-when-new-but-now-greyish-coloured-underwear! Ann Summers and Agent Provocateur is a fantastic starting place for your burlesque wardrobe. Go for the luscious lace or a sexy satin number!
Clothes – Though you may not find many burlesque clothing stores, you can pick up some fabulous pieces such as corsets in vintage boutiques and markets (Camden is the best) and don’t forget to check out EBay. For those of you that aren’t predisposed to vintage, high street chains will have great full volume skirts, tea dresses, high waisted clothing and tops with lots of bows and glitz, giving a modern twist to old classics.
Shoes – No burlesque queen would be caught dead wearing a pair of scruffy trainers, so ladies, its high heels all the way. As the old saying goes, no pain, no gain… Go for a pair of cute platform round toes with either a front bow or peep toe design to complete your outfit. Again high streets shoe stores are a great place to start, but for a more authentic look, hit those vintage shops.
Make Up – Bleach blonde and orange skin is definitely not hot in the world of burlesque. Just look at Christina, these two always have perfectly polished and immaculately done make up (apart from after a heavy night out!) Obviously black eyeliner with a cute flick at the end and ruby red lipstick is oh so hot right now, but to be a real burlesque queen, make sure that your nails are always painted. To add some more drama, why not invest in a pair of bejewelled false eyelashes!
Attitude & Confidence
Burlesque glamour is all about being a lady, a lady with a naughty side that is. It’s about celebrating your shape and size whatever it may be! Think sexy and you’ll look sexy. Don’t be afraid to be different and find your unique style. Individuality is key; so be true to yourself, the best burlesque artists find what they are good at and run with it! And it can be anything from expressing yourself through what you wear or a particular skill such as eating fire (not one to be tried at home!), thus allowing you to play to your strengths and feel empowered. Also never underestimate the power of charm – sparkling wit and personality are a girl’s best friend… Use them with care!
Films, Music, Books & Going Out
If you are still craving more burlesque and want to learn more then there are some great books, films and music out there. For books obviously Dita’s Burlesque and the Art of the Teese/Fetish and the Art of the Teese are at the top of that list! For film buffs try Cabaret featuring Liza Minnelli or be dazzled by the glorious costumes in Moulin Rouge. Greatly anticipated is the forthcoming film burlesque, out in 2011, starring Christina Aguilera and Cher. Etta James, Dianh Washing and Shirley Bassey all provide top tunes to burlesque dance to, not forgetting about the Burlesque Tribute to Christina Aguilera. Of course, don’t forget to look on YouTube for 100’s of burlesque videos at your fingertips. Burlesque nights are popping up all over the UK, so look on the internet for any local night. In addition, there all lots of burlesque themed club night out there at the moment, so it’s the perfect excuse to get all dressed up and party!