I remember how I felt onstage for the very first time since I left Jubilee a decade earlier. That amazing rush of excitement while working a stage that I thought I had left behind forever.
It was my very first burlesque show. I had taken a workshop to learn the art of the striptease and was part of the student recital. As nervous as I felt, it wasn’t a problem to get through my entire act, even though I felt like a baby doe on ice. The brightness of the spotlight threw me a bit, but the energy in the room was intense and supportive. The audience loved every second of the show, and awarded us with a standing ovation.
I was ignited and I wanted more.
Getting started in burlesque isn’t easy. And there really isn’t a manual for it either. You just kind of figure it out as you go. I guess it is that way with everything else…
I had all the questions and no one to turn to.
Which is one of the reasons I began this blog. I want to help that transition from student to powerhouse performer be a bit smoother, (and less costly!)
One of the biggest questions I had was:
How many acts do I need?
Everyone I asked had similar responses. It seemed that they all agreed that it wasn’t a matter of quantity but of quality.
So I set out to make acts of the highest quality that would get more bookings.
My first act, I don’t even perform anymore. I still can’t seem to get rid of the costume though, it’s too cute.
Here is the order in which I created acts, why and if I still perform them:
So, I really only have 7 acts that I choose from when a booking request comes in (four during holidays Halloween through December). And some I prefer to perform more than others depending on my mood. Lately, I am repurposing costumes to new music to see how I like them, if the costume is not being used enough.
One thing to note is that several of my “retired” acts have actually been prequels to the acts that they are today. Sabor a Mi, Gazealous and Noir are costumes that cost A LOT, and I want to get the most out of them, so I have reused them, and have multiple acts for the same costume.
That’s how you really save your money! REUSE COSTUMES!
I will also admit that there are about 5 acts that didn’t even make this list because I performed them only once for a themed show or something. And those are the acts that just weren’t worth my time or effort and don’t have a space in my repertoire. Sometimes you just have to say no to themed shows. Save yourself some money and time and focus on the acts that you really truly want to make a lasting impact in your career, your life and your wallet.
If I were to tell my baby burlesquer self which acts to do, I would say:
- Halloween act or two
- Winter act
- Love act
- Classic bumps and grinds
- Silly/cutesy act (if it works for your stage persona)
- Fan act
- Personal brand act (the one that fits your brand of sexy)
How far are you in your act repertoire? Do you need to add a few? Revive some? Comment below. I would love to hear how you curate your repertoire.
Athena, aka Gazella