Continuing on from here:
Miss Kitka’s course is broken up into 3 courses of about 6 weeks. Beginners, Intermediate and a Production course. The production course ends with putting on a show for family, friends and the public (and raises money for Charity). At the end of Intermediate I had no intention of doing the production course. I didn’t think anyone would want to see me on stage and was so shy about showing off my body especially my breasts!! By the end of intermediate I had been to my first few Burlesque events and was a Burly groupie.
Still I couldn’t see myself onstage.
I was at The Ruby Revue one night when a friend put my name down for the little “singing competition” they have at the end of the night. I was on last and despite not being on stage or having a spotlight on me for a decade it was like I had never left. The song I was given was “What a Feeling” and my-oh-my it was! When the lights hit me it was like something long buried came out. The crowd loved it and cheered for me. I won and I couldn’t get the feeling I felt when I was onstage out of my mind. I smiled for days, I was filled with Joy!
Then someone told me to look up a number of performers including Dirty Martini on You Tube. From the first clip I was astounded. Here was a woman who was smart, beautiful, joyful, and so entertaining. She had womanly full hips and curves. I could just see in her celebrating her body in her performance. She didn’t let the fact that she is not a size 8 stop her. Confidence oozed out of her more than any other performer I had seen. I was in awe.
See a fabulous interview with her on 21st Century Burlesque here: which includes one of my favourite quotes of all time:
“Of course everyone has moments of self doubt and sadness. It is important to remember that we create our own reality – after soul searching I realized that I didn’t want my reality to be one of self hatred and I didn’t want that for any women anymore. Lets banish it! Forever!” Dirty Martini
So I decided to do that production course. I made up my first routine (which I look back on now with a slight cringe) ). I was asked if I wanted to sing a song, and finally after 20 years of dreaming about it, went out and got singing lessons. We learnt 4 group routines. We made our own costumes, including pasties, shopped and came up with decorations for the club. It was honestly a LOT of work.
The very first show in Canberra was both a blessing and a curse as I knew no-one in the audience. However it was freeing. A chance to pop my Cherry if you will- and I knew if I stuffed up I wouldn’t have to see them again. But while I am sure I wasn’t that great- I LOVED it! A few weeks later in Sydney was my chance to perform for my family and friends. My Mother and Father & Friends from as far back as High School. Still I was a bit shy about it all but adrenalin got me through. When a drunk guy who I did a chair dance to groped me I slapped the guys hands off me with my fans in time to the music and hid my warning words behind the fans. Then the moment just after the reveal of my Giant Cherry pasties (which I made to cover a bit more and you can see in the photo above when one literally popped off right in front of my PARENTS AND FRIENDS!!! I am told I handled it like a pro, made a shocked type silly face and put it back again. It was a baptism by fire!
I was hooked and a few months later I was lucky to be asked to participate in a couple of new shows specifically for new performers. The Peel run by Lauren La Rouge and my teacher Holly J’aDoll, and A Velvet Garden run by Sheena Miss Demeanour and Blush School (where I was taking Burlesque Dance lessons with the talented Sheena).
I was inspired and encouraged by Sheena, to create a routine for A Velvet Garden that was about me, but still entertaining. My ” Working for the Man” routine which is based on my real life career change (Environmental Manager in Hard hat and safety vest by day and Burlesque Performer in heels and Sequins by night!). This is still my and I think my fans favourite routine. It shows my Joy in doing what I now do.
The rest is history. There are many people who have helped, encouraged me on the way and took a chance to put me on stage but to list them all here would be to leave some out, as there is simply not enough room. I simply try all the time to give back their encouragement by helping them when I can and providing the same encouragement to the newer performers.
What have I learnt- well that deserves a post of it’s own. In brief I have learnt not to say- I can’t- instead I say I will give it a go! The other is that confidence is a state of mind.
Be sure- there is a LOT more to come, a lot of things to work on and things I want to achieve. Don’t stop me now! 😉
See Dirty Martini at The Ruby Revue this Sunday the 14th August.
The next Peel is on the 31st August at Slide.