How To Learn Burlesque Dancing
Jo King, aka Goodtime Mama Jo Jo, from the London Academy of Burlesque, gives tips in the trade of burlesque dancing, including using the correct eye contact, facial expressions, and moves. Using these tips, you can learn burlesque dancing.
How to learn burlesque dancing: Obviously, what you need to do is get yourself to a class. If you're outside of London, check out your local paper, Google your classes nearest you and see where you can go. If you're in London, come to Mama and I'll teach you.
Moves that I teach people, usually, are what I call basic burlesque, when they have never done it before, beginner's burlesque moves. They are the traditional moves that people use. It doesn't mean that you have to stick with those; they are really good to know.
They are really kind of pretty to add into any routine. One of the first things, really, is eye contact. It is very, very important when you're working to an audience to connect to them.
Obviously, you don't want to stare at them the whole time, because that can make them feel quite uneasy. So, if I were performing for you right now, and I was going to walk toward you, I would probably look at you a little bit, and then look at myself, and then look back at you. I wouldn't look at you then whole time, because if I look at you the whole time, it looks a little bit overbearing.
Now, also with eye contact comes facial expression. I am very fond of my face, this is my normal face, but I wouldn't use my normal face the whole time when I was performing because it can look really stern, like so. Not good.
When you're performing, you need to change your facial expression, the same as you would when you are having a conversation with somebody. Obviously, it can make all the difference in the world between a mediocre performance, and a fantastic performance. Let me show you the walk again just using some facial expression, tiny, tiny little changes in the face but it makes a difference.
One of the moves I would like to show you is a wiggle. A wiggle is a very simple movement, it's with the hip. It's hip-based, always better to have your feet shoulder width apart.
If you're not sure what shoulder-width is, put your feet together, turn your heels out so your toes are together, and just let your feet follow through, and that would normally be just directly under your shoulders. Again, wearing heels helps when you're doing this, hands on the body to start, in front of the hips. It looks prettier to have your hands in front of your hips than on them.
This looks a bit like you've got a bad attitude. This looks quite pretty because it's also directing the eye to your form, and then you're just going to wiggle from side to side. I am actually bending one leg at a time.
I know it's very tempting for younger women to bend both legs but that can make it a little bit R&B, so let's not make it R&B, let's make it burlesque. Let's keep one leg straight and one let bent. One leg straight, one leg bent, and really use your upper body to accentuate the movement.
This is a wiggle. Also, really important movement in burlesque dancing is the walk. So, just to take it back, if I was coming onto the stage, what I would do is I would walk on as if I owned the world before I went into my wiggle.
Posing is also quite important. A lot of poses are quite glamorous and some are what we call cheesecake. They are quite pretty to put into a little burlesque routine.
I'm just going to show you one more move to take away with you. It's called a top shimmy. A lot of people get this wrong; they have their feet apart and they lean forward, and that could be dangerous, you could lose your balance.
It's much better to have one foot slightly in front of the other. You just lean in, put your hands out to balance you, shake your shoulders. People often say should I shake my boobies, or my shoulder; it doesn't matter, whichever bit you shake, the other bit will follow.
Shake them, come back out, fantastic. That's how to learn burlesque dancing. .