15 May 2010

Hestia does Burlesque Part II

We all sat nervously clutching our bags and, if I’m honest, trying to work out who was going to look worse than me with their kit off.

There were all sorts of women – a gorgeous blonde sylph from Ireland who was a classical dancer looking to branch out her skills; a 50 year old diver (looked absolutely rocking, let me tell you!); an American author who was about ages with me; a civil servant who worked at the Scottish Parliament….a grand group of girls out in secret, celebrating a 40th….and some mad keen neo-burlesquers who fancied their chances of making it big, one day, on the stage.

Our workshop leaders appeared – Tina Warren and her sister, Madeleine.  Tina was a tiny, slender thing oozing 1950s Bobby-soxer glamour – tie front shirt, blonde pony tail, ¾ length skin-tight jeans and the highest heels you can imagine.

Her sister Madeleine was a different creature altogether, equally slender, but dark-haired, pale and glacially beautiful.

The girls pulled out loads of costumes and burlesque glamour books, sharing with us their secrets on designing acts, sewing costumes, the merits of glue guns, different types of fans and hair and make up tips. I started to relax – we were all perfectly normal women, not man-eating freaks.

The morning edged ever closer to our first actual burlesque activity – learning to twirl one’s pasties.  I opted for a purple sequinned set with black tassels.

Secret No 1:  You hold them in place with carpet tape or tit tape.

Bashfully, we all faced the studio's mirrored walls and stripped off our tops.  Some only went down as far as their bras and stuck their tassels onto their finest Playtex.

I fingered the sequinned cup and the little tassel danced – Willie's words 'not that sort of girl' echoed in my mind.  I yanked off my bra and stuffed the pasties onto my boobs as best I could.

Secret No 2:  Trying to remove Carpet tape from your nipples is more painful than breast-feeding.

Tina asked us to all turn around.  We did.  We all burst out laughing.  We were surrounded by glittery tits and were all desperately trying not to look at each other’s boobs – it was impossible!

Tina took to the centre of the stage.  Skinny as a whippet, she had very bouncy knocker s (see: my jealous face).

She showed us how to bounce from our knees and make our tassels twirl and we spent a hilarious half hour jumping up and down like demented things.  It was genuinely exhausting and hugely exhilarating – my bras have more reinforcements than the Clifton Suspension Bridge and are designed to stop any kind of wobble at all.  To actually REVEL in your wobbliness was very liberating!

Secret 3: to take your clothes off without looking like you’ve wandered in from a Top Shop changing room is much harder than you think.

‘The worst thing that you can wear is black.  You just disappear into the shadows of the stage,’ said Tina.

Fuck, thought I, whose outfit was blacker than Satan’s waistcoat.

‘Shoes with straps are really tricky to take off gracefully, so wear a slip on style….’ she continued.

Double fuck

‘You need to make your story believable.  If you are confident, your audience will have confidence in you. It helps if you can think – and believe – I want SEX – as you engage with your audience.’

Triple fuck (see dwindling sex life)

‘Now, if you would like to break into groups, we’ll start working up your routines, we’ll aim for a 5 pm finish for the filming.’

‘Sorry, I’m a wee bit deaf…..I thought you said filming?’

‘The filming.  Of your routines.  For your DVD.  If we start rehearsing now, we can be finished filming by 5pm.’

Total utter, UTTER clusterfuck

Part 3 to follow

Image from Burlesque Idol - Australia


  1. Ali, excuse my language, but my you are fucking brave!

    Also, you are being a tease! More story please!


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