I saw a post recently saying that Burlesque was not a place for woman to work out their issues, whether related to self-esteem, confidence, personal or body perception. I understood where the writer was coming from but I have to say I partially disagreed as well. Where I did agree is that the stage is not the place to work issues out, however I do believe a the act of learning burlesque can be a good place to work through these ‘issues’ provided this can be done in the safe learning environment of a burlesque school (this is up to the tutor to create).
I certainly don’t guarantee this is where it all happens or how it happens, but as if by some sparkly magic, I have been privileged to witness the changes in a number of students who have attended my classes. I have also noticed it in myself and tell my story to each of my students.
One particular student stood over six feet tall, didn’t own heels (shock horror!) and purposely slumped so not to appear to tower over anyone. A working mother of two, she came to classes just to ‘give-it-a-crack’. By the end of the first class I thought she was standing a little but more upright. The following week I had it confirmed; she indeed was pushing her shoulders back and walking with her chin up. The week after she was laughing and participating whole heartily with her peers. One the forth week she showed up in her corset, frilly knickers, fishnets and of course heels. My jaw dropped. She was standing taller, she had opened up, and was not at all the introverted person that I had spoken to prior to classes beginning. For someone who was just “giving it a go”, she has progressed to actually performing as part of a group in front of unknown audiences!
The difference I see, the conversation I have and the emails I get from students telling me after a block course about how their self-esteem was at a low, how they needed something for themselves after getting out of relationships, whatever “issue” they had that drove them to my classes, and the change in them into confident, walking tall, and sexy woman, I can’t help but be amazed. Burlesque has had such a profound effect on them and it brings me to tears that I have been privileged enough to be a part of that journey.
It may not be the best place for everyone, goodness knows we all need a “trained professional” every now and then but I am a true believer that Burlesque can help on a journey of self-discovery. Remember though, you only get out, what you put in…