The Student Soiree is a CRAZY supportive venue for performance students, amateurs, and peeps wanting practice performance to come on down and share their creations with the world. I created it as a friendly, student-led space for my burlesque students to be able to perform the choreographies they learnt in class - and as a venue for people who wanted to perform burlesque, but did not want to pursue it as a career or try to get work in professional shows, who wanted to do burlesque to have fun and perform for their friends.
It was inspired by the Hafla scene in the Belly Dance world - Haflas are open stages and parties for bellydance students and performers, where all levels of dancer get the chance to perform and be on stage.
That said: What are my top tips for creating an act for the Soiree?
1. It doesn't have to be burlesque!
Just because it's a burlesque-run event, it doesn't mean that you have to strip to perform! My belly dance students will be performing too, so if you have a skill that you would like to showcase that is NOT burlesque (dance, spoken word poetry, variety, something strange), please go ahead!
You could do a poem about Brexit. You could do a drag piece. You could make a beautiful costume and then do a catwalk to show it off. You could perform a dance to Kylie Minogue with your bestie.
But since a lot of my burlesque students have been interested in making their first act, most of the following advice is about that.
2. Start with something you love.
Find something you love and make an act about that. Love British Bake Off? Why not do an act where you make a Mary Berry cheesecake onstage, and cover yourself with cheesecake mix at the end? Love Game of Thrones? Why not do a dance or a striptease to the theme song? You could rope your mate into holding up shadow puppet dragons in the background. Obsessed with Taylor Swift? Why not do an act to Love Story, or a striptease where you literally have to shake off every piece of clothing?
The Soiree isn't a venue where you will be judged for not having Dita Von Teese worthy vintage costumes: It's a celebration of your creativity and what you love doing. No judgeys. Just overwhelming support. Have some FUN with it!
3. Start with a song you love.
I always find that the music inspires the piece. Pick a piece of music you are totally in love with - I recommend surfing spotify for new music.
4. You don't have to end up naked, you know.
If you want to do a striptease, remember, you don't HAVE to end up naked unless you want to! You could do a striptease where you remove a jacket - that's it! Or just some gloves, or a trench coat!
Perhaps you could take off an outer layer of clothing to reveal a super sparkly piece of clothing underneath! Maybe outer-clothing you is dull and drab, and under-clothing you is vivacious and bubbly!
You can totes still end up fully clothed at the end.
5. It can be super sexy. But it doesn't have to be.
Most of my favourite acts have come out of silly late-night conversations with my friends - Gandalf, PG Tips, Bodybuilders.... Being silly on stage is my favourite, and burlesque is about so much more than being a glamourpuss...
...but if you want to do a glamourpuss striptease, make sure you practice getting out of your clothes a LOT! A lot of regular clothing isn't made for burlesque performers, so we have to be really good at getting out of it!
A lot of the time I change the clasps on my performance clothes to be easy-to-get-off things like poppers and ties, but just make sure that the zip on that dress you want to use doesn't jam and that the buttons are easy to undo in a stage-induced fumble!
7. Learn something and perform it with us!
Would love to try your hand at performing Burlesque, but don't want to create your own act? Join us in our burlesque classes! Most terms we learn a choreography to perform, and if you are one of my students, I can help you out if you would like to create your own act for the stage!
I hope you found some of my guidance useful - I look forward to seeing you at the Soiree!