26 May 2016

Flappin' gorgeous!

Here's how we teach a small fragment of any routine:

  1. Without any music, demonstrate the moves slowly and with as much instruction as possible, picking out musical cues that will tell the troupe what they need to be doing when
  2. Step through those moves again, roughly at the tempo that they'll be at when we add the music
  3. Play the music and get the whole class to dance the moves together for the first time. I dance in front of the troupe and the Sparkly Bra Pixie and the Voluptuous Jules dance behind them so that, no matter which way the routine turns us, the troupe has someone to follow
  4. At the end of that dance fragment. turn off the music and turn around inquiringly to look at the troupe and the other members of Burlicious to see how it went.
I love that moment. What I see as I turn round tells me all I need to know.

Last night, having demonstrated a few moves from the boa routine in our current dance, I turned around to see showgirls collapsing with laughter; showgirls flapping about with boas demonstrating the mess that they had got into trying to control two metres of feather; showgirls giggling each other through what had happened as they tried the steps; and the Sparkly Bra Pixie saying blandly: "I think we'll do that again."

One boa each. A few arm movements with boa to manage. And an infinite number of cat's cradle and spider web variations produced, together with some mad scrabbling about trying to reach the boa behind the back as if it were being borne away on a strong wind. Our showgirls were like little feathery whirling dervishes, but with fewer clothes. Cracking stuff!

Enjoy half term, showgirls, and we'll flap on with this in two weeks' time. :-)

Yours, as sleek as little birds of paradise,

Burlicious x

19 May 2016

Tricky walking

There are a few bits in our current routine that are freestyle - i.e. not choreographed. One of them is a little walk of about, oooh, three to four steps, across the stage.

"OK," says I, "what we're after here is a bit of slutty strolling to take you back to where you were standing a few moves ago."

Now, there appears to be nothing more likely to take the sexiness out of the showgirl than the surprise invitation to vamp it up a bit in her own way. Hoping for a sort of slow, meaningful stroll, laden with meaning and promise, what we got was a sort of cheeky, bouncy, "aw right then, missus, ow's yer father", Cockney Sparrer strut, one step short of twanging braces and tipping a cap, Artful Dodger style. Brilliant, just brilliant, but not exactly sexy.

We settled instead for what shall become known as the "whatevs" move - the confident, careless, promenade of the gorgeous, sexy woman who knows that she's fabulous but - frankly, my dear - couldn't give a damn whether you take her up on it or not.

Still, the cheery, knees-bendy, Michael-Jackson-singing-"Rockin'-Robin"-long-before-his-voice-broke style of bouncy little walk is rather endearing and will definitely be missed. :-)

Yours, loving our showgirls and their inventiveness,

Burlicious x

12 May 2016

A bit of a thrashing

We returned last night to one of our very earliest routines, created all those years ago when we were first setting up Burlicious as baby showgirls (aah). 

In terms of steps, this dance is a thing of simplicity. In terms of attitude and sheer front, it's full on, with all the contemptuous stamping of the tango and some lovely boa work with arms flicking crisply in and then out at full stretch.

Of course, this is slightly marred by me saying one thing and demonstrating another. At pains to point out for one section of the routine that the feet go right, left, right, left while the arms holding the boa go sharply right in, left in, left out, right out, I then managed to get myself into what can only politely be called as a mucking fuddle, with  arms and boa windmilling around randomly looking like a feathery dervish on speed... or Big Bird getting a bit of a skip on on the dancefloor...which is a long way from the crisp, confident, strutting look that we're after.

I'm delighted to say that this caused much hilarity in the troupe. 

Which is great, 'cos we feel that we've done our job if our showgirls get in at least one belly laugh as a work out during the class. 
At the rate we're going on with the belly laughs, we'll have six packs of steel in a few weeks' time. Mind you, what with the windmill arms, we might also have featherless boas.

Yours, walking and arm waving,

Burlicious x 

5 May 2016

Rhythm and bums

There's a pleasing rhythm to how our regular class unfolds over the weeks. We show the troupe a new routine. We teach it over a number of weeks. We close by getting the troupe to dance the routine that they have now mistressed in a different direction - i.e. instead of always dancing it facing the stage, they dance it facing the rear of the hall, then the side, then each other. It's a great brain teaser and a good way of  testing whether they really know it.

So, last night was the last night of this routine. Under the watchful eye of a patron of the arts ( :-) ) who has booked us for her birthday do, we taught the final few steps to this routine and then turned it around.

And it's looking damned fine, showgirls, damned fine. The legs (mostly) go in the correct direction. The arm sweeps are almost always the right version each time. And we have cracked the "bob and bum salute, right, left, right" that previously was resulting in arses going up and down randomly like a bunch of kids on a trampoline. It's all looking very nice indeed.

Now all we need to conquer are the facial expressions that tell the world that your mind is working like the clappers and that sometimes it's a veeeery last second choice between going left or going right, and we'll be laughing.

Well, to be fair, we're all laughing anyway simply 'cos this stuff is such a hoot to do. On second thoughts, maybe we don't need to change a thing.

We start a fresh routine on Weds 11th, laydees, so that's the time to come back to class or to come along for the first time.

Yours, bobbing like a good 'un,

Burlicious x




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