If you’re starting out as a burlesque dancer, you will undoubtedly spend a lot of time perfecting your burlesque style and image. Every successful performer creates their own unique burlesque style and the best become identified by it. We’ve put together a few ideas that provide a creative direction for anyone who is working hard to invent themselves. Don’t feel limited in any way by these. Hopefully they will spark tons of ideas and creativity.
Pick An Era
Ever notice how some burlesque dancers look and even act like they just walked out of 1890s Paris, or a 1920s cabaret, or out of a Marilyn Monroe movie set? It’s such a thrill to go see a burlesque show and watch an artist who’s nailed the look, and the aura of a past era.
You can do it, too! And you could become known as THE performer in town who rocks a particular era of fashion and burlesque style. Or even contemporary neo-burlesque, you could tailor your style to one that is decidedly eclectic with a punk, circus type of look. Local dancer Ruby Lamb does this so well. Check out Pinterest, Flickr and YouTube for ideas and examples of the diversity of styles in burlesque. You can see the various eras that are frequently included in performances and begin to put together your very own burlesque style.
Color Schemes / Costumes
Speaking of fashion, your burlesque costumes say everything about your burlesque style and persona. You have all sorts of options to define yourself. One idea is to pick your favorite color and design a set of costumes around different shades of that color. Or work with a complimentary color palette and design a group of outfits around that. You could become known just for your vibrant burlesque costumes.
You can also combine a color scheme with your favorite era, to create an entire range of complimentary dances, costumes and looks that can be used from show to show. That way you create a cohesive style with tons of variety, but one that people will remember you for.
Makeup and Hair
Maybe you’ve got a talent for creating over-the-top, unique looks with makeup? If so, definitely go all out with your makeup - apply glitter, false eyelashes, fanciful patterns drawn on your cheeks; you name it. Just have fun with it! The same goes for your hair - use your hair as another way to express yourself, creating a signature style that people remember you for. You can also wear dramatic feather fascinators, hats, or even wigs! Wigs are an easy way to drastically alter your appearance and create a signature look.
Choreography and Dances
Do you know how to rock the can-can dance? Or do you adore the fan dance? The best performances come from a true love of burlesque. If you’re good at something, make it your signature piece! You can maintain one basic choreography that you tweak from show to show, and also change up the burlesque costume so that fans begin to remember you for that particular dance.