Tuesday, August 21, 2012

On being a one-stripper, indicating MACHINE!

Class number two of Boylesk 101 has come and gone just as quickly as a pair of rip-away pants... The boys and I are a little over a month out from our BOYLESK 101 SHOWCASE!

With that clothes-dropping deadline in mind, the focus of our second class centered around "indicating," or the act of drawing, capturing, and directing an audience's attention through the Boylesk striptease. Now, as I've mentioned before, these and the following comments and definitions are mine and my opinion only; that said, I stressed to my students the need to think of themselves as one-man indicating machines. As Burlesque and Boylesk performers, we are the ultimate producers of our work. Thus, we're not simply responsible for how our clothing comes off, but also the very costume pieces themselves, not to mention our music, props and any additional stage spectacles or magic we're bringing to our performance. Whether I physically sew the g-string myself or have a fellow performer cut and edit my music, when it comes to showtime, the ultimate responsibility for executing my number lies on my finely oiled, glittered shoulders.

So, to give my students (and myself) a launching point for creating a number and with a little help from Webster's Dictionary--it never hurts to consult a pro--this is my definition of indicating...


1) The utilization of clear, dynamic gestures and movement to FOCUS and DIRECT an audience's attention.

2) The incorporation of extremely strong, vivid, and provocative imagery and sound elements to suggest emotional qualities and feelings. Examples include choice of music, costuming, and in general any and all stage spectacle.

(And while I know I didn't describe the parts of speech I'm referencing, I'm not necessarily concerned with those parts...)

Finally, in our class exercises, I challenged my students with three other basic elements of movement to consciously incorporate into their physical staging: tempo, rhythm, and planar variations; i.e., we explored the speed, movement pattern, and physical level of taking off a piece of clothing.

These elements are already apparent in our every day life as well as any numbers a performer may already have under his belt... or tucked inside a jockstrap. By singling these principles out individually in our group exercises, I hope to drive home the message that ultimately, its important to find movement variations in your act. It's an obvious principle, but if we already walk, chew, brush our teeth, even swipe a metro card in a particular manner, might those physical habits also manifest themselves onstage?

I know mine do. Which is why I continually ask myself, "How can I remove this shirt in a different manner than I'm used to and how can I then transition into my left boot using a completely different tempo, rhythm, and movement plane?"

(Also a good question to ask oneself: "What can my garment become after I've removed it?" Like oh, say, an uzi.)

The videos I've chosen for my students to review in my opinion not only exemplify these above statements but also manage to do so in a very personal, unconventional manner.

And... as an extra little treat, I've also included what some may consider to be "conventional" choreography by the all male Australian dance crew "Thunder from Down Under" AND, a "Step-By-Lap" tutorial on giving an effective lap dance. However, what I honestly love about these videos is that they a) break down movement in clear, understandable, and teachable steps and b) encourage the thought--in my opinion--that stripping onstage can (and should) incorporate just as many basic principles of movement as it can a more formal dance technique.



(Perfectly coiffed with the fullest extensions.)

(The Carol Burnett of Burlesque!)

(Everybody needs a gimmick! What's your's?)


(Husband, boyfriend... client. The line blurs so easily. Just remember "crispy bacon!")

1 comment:

  1. I've just downloaded iStripper, and now I enjoy having the best virtual strippers on my taskbar.