When I tell people I work with a burlesque company, I get a few reactions. There’s the long stare down, in which I tell them I don’t dance, I stage manage. There’s the, “Oh, cool!” and of course the “I have no idea what that is” Every once in a while I get the “isn’t that immoral?” from some of the more conservative people.
Honestly, when I signed on to work with Gorilla Tango, I had very little idea what I was getting myself into. I had seen a production of Boobs and Goombas a few years before, but that was it. I knew the company did nerdy themed all girl shows that involved stripping, but that was it. I walked into the Skokie Theater for my first Holy Bouncing Boobies performance almost completely blind about two years ago. I had no idea how much I was going to learn in the past two years.
Sure, burlesque is stripping, but it’s so much more than that. It’s comedy, it’s confidence, it’s talent, and most of all, it’s focused on the female body as something beautiful no matter what size, shape, or color you are. All women have body image issues, if you say you don’t, you’re lying. These woman though know they’re more than their bodies. These women that I’ve worked with over the years are some of the most confident people I know. Their confidence to show who they are, ALL of who they are, has rubbed off on me. Personality and confidence is so much more sexy and attractive than anything else. If you’re proud of yourself, that’s all that matters.
Sure, all I do is help with their quick changes and make sure props are where they’re supposed to be, but I feel I’ve grown so much as a person because of the wonderful ladies I work with. I’ve become more Ok with my weird personality (because I realized I’m not that weird after all) and I’m more ok with how I look. Now, if only I could move like them! (When I say I’m clumsy, I mean it, how do I have all my digits and limbs???)
Don’t think of burlesque as a strip club. Don’t think of it as some terrible immoral thing that will damn you to hell. Think of it as art, just like any other theater performance, because that’s what it is. It’s a beautiful art that focuses on beauty, confidence and humor. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, you don’t know what’s behind it, you may be surprised what you find.