I was recently asked by a friend (and one of my burlesque inspirations) Miss Deb Delicious to perform in Canberra. I had a great weekend with my friends and enjoyed seeing some of the women perform for the first time. Debbie is one of the teachers at Miss Kitka’s House of Burlesque started by the indomitable Miss Kitka who is famous (or infamous ) for shocking MPs at a Climate Change conference (read all about that here: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2006/09/07/1157222252074.html)
Miss Kitka’s House of Burlesque is pretty special to me as this was where I did burlesque classes and also was the venue of my very first performance. Some of you may be surprised to know I was a tomboy once upon a time not that long ago. I was too scared to show off my body thinking that my breasts were too big and that I was too fat to wear nice clothes. Scared of the person I could see hiding deep inside of me. Not wanting to wear anything outrageous in case I attracted attention and generally afraid of what people thought of me.
I had just been through a pretty horrible time and because of it I was reborn but lost. I was like a small child searching for what life was about. I was wide open to the world and what experiences were out there. I wanted to abolish fear from my life. It was my personal demon holding me back from living and what had taken away the part of my life that was most precious to me.
One day in the early stages of that horrible year I came across this article about Burlesque: http://www.smh.com.au/news/beauty/australia-embraces-the-nipple-tassle/2008/04/21/1208742827484.html . The link sat in my email for almost a year until one day I remembered that article. I had never seen a burlesque show in my life, and knew nothing about it except what the wonder of the internet told me. Instinctively I knew it was what I needed. I needed to overcome my self-hatred of my body. I wanted to be able to feel sexy. I wanted to have fun in life. I was on a mission that year which I called “Finding Joy” and for some reason this burlesque thing looked like the thing to help me do that.
Once again the internet was my weapon of choice in finding out about these classes. Most of the other classes I looked into concentrated on dance, and I was not ready to tackle that yet. I loved the sound of Miss Kitka’s which was about gaining confidence. In my wildest dreams of the time I never imagined performing professionally. I just wanted to be confident like the lady in the newspaper story. So I wrote to Miss Kitka asking if she planned to run classes in Sydney again? A reply came as luck would have it they were starting in a few weeks just down the road!
You have no idea how nervous I was the day I entered the Marrickville Bowling Club wearing jeans and trainers with my newly purchased feather boa hidden in my handbag. But although I was intimidated by the lovely teacher Fran, I was made to feel welcome and included.
I was not a good student. Fran and later Holly J’aDoll will tell you that. I used the words “I can’t” way more than warranted. However the classes were more than I imagined. We discussed burlesque and how to develop your character. I learned about posture, walking, as well as learning a few sexy routines that I thought would be great to use one day on a lucky partner.
But it was only the beginning…