Burlesque Classes in Sydney
Since the opening of our boutique, Love Rouge has been offering all things sensual, with Burlesque classes designed to release your inner "Von Teese". We offer a variety of classes from tailor-made tease, through to 4 week Beginners and Intermediate Courses, held in a stylish city based venue in Surry Hills.
We also specialise in group events which are held in a private decadent function space where participants can sip champagne, nibble canapes and learn a feathered fan dance routine with one of our talented Burlesque teachers. So if you're looking for fun and unique ideas for a Hens, Birthday or group event, then simply give us a call and we will be happy to help you plan a memorable experience.
Back to Burlesque
The timeless art of striptease is shimmying its way back. No longer considered scandalous, burlesque is sharp-witted, tongue-in-cheek and great fun.
Perhaps it’s the intrigue, the comparative demureness, or simply the old-school glamour of burlesque dancing that has reawakened interest in this seductive art form. Burlesque dancers first appeared in music halls, scandalizing high society with their above-the-knee dresses and cheeky, knowing grins – and now, a century later, they’re making a huge resurgence. Uber-sexy burlesque star Dita Von Teese has led the way with her contemporary take on the tease, and it has also made a splash on the big screen with Burlesque, starring Oscar winner Cher and singer Christina Aguilera.
The appeal of the Burlesque striptease lies in the extravagant costumes, raunchy music, clever choreography and shameless va-va voom. My teenage fascination with old Hollywood and those gloriously glamorous dames – Josephine Baker, Jane Russell, Mae West and Marilyn Monroe – with their sultry sexuality, feather boas, sequins, glamorous headdresses and shimmering silk dresses, has never left me. So, after spotting some intriguing posters advertising burlesque classes at a local studio, my interest was piqued.
Burlesque classes are steadily growing in number all around Australia, and you can even kit yourself out with retro-style clothes at sites like Burlesquebaby.com.au and loverouge.com.au. I’m hooked. It’s a really fun way to get more active, celebrate your femininity and feel sexy. (Don’t worry, the most you’ll need to remove is a glove!)
I’ve signed up to a Love Rouge class in Sydney, and a few days later I head to my first of four Saturday sessions. Minutes after arriving, I find myself clacking my heels on the hardwood floor (you simply can’t do burlesque in flat shoes, darlings). Then I’m boop-boop-de-booping up and down the hall, following Anna Brown, 36, our 5ft 1in Monroe-esque instructor with sparkling blue eyes, peroxide hair, pouty red lips and enchanting bolshie Welsh accent. There are a dozen or so other women in this class, all in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s and of various shapes and sizes, and Anna immediately puts us all at ease, filling the room with a sexy tune.
Our gentle warm-up is to Peggy Lee’s famous purring of “Fever” – a hip-swaying tune to get us in the mood. The volume is way up and Anna has us shadowing her every move, walking on the balls of our feet and grinding our hips as we saunter up and down the studio. Even though it’s only a one-hour class, I was nervous about going solo (a chicken friend dropped out at the last minute). But seeing that most of the other – very normal looking – women also came alone makes me feel comfortable dancing into the unknown with them. Some, like me, are wearing tracksuit pants and T-shirts, but a few are already channeling their inner Betty Boop and wearing classy stockings and heels.
Anna explains that her classes are all about women rediscovering how beautiful and sexy they can be. “Burlesque has seen a resurgence of late because it allows women to embrace their sensuality and legitimately explore a side that most of us lose touch with in our modern, busy lives.
“We began classes to help women enjoy their sensual sides, and what better way than by learning the art of burlesque?” she adds cheekily. Then she asks us all to take one of the small back-feathered fans she’s brought, and snap back into line.
It’s not like other dances classes I’ve been to where you need to be 100% coordinated and look like a prima ballerina (which no-one here does). They usually get in the way but I can already see that in burlesque, for once, my voluptuous D cups area going to be a serious asset.
Anna explains that burlesque is all about focusing on the area of you body you’re most proud of, then accentuating it in your dance. So, for example, if your’re doing a fan dance and you want to show off your sumptuous cleavage or derriere, place your fan there carefully, then hold that pose with a cheeky grin to ensure maximum effect (as though your breasts or backside are on a plate, so to speak). Its all about getting the audience to look at what you choose. Anna’s making us all giggle, and adds sassily as she slowly strokes her thigh, “Put your legs out and think: Go on, look at that gorgeous leg .. it’s all about the tease”.
She’s right. After all, in burlesque, you’re the one controlling the performance, whether you’re alone in a studio, giving a private show for your partner, or up on stage with 100 people watching. As long as you have confidence, posture and a willingness to let go of that immediate embarrassment, you can make burlesque work for you. Anna alludes to the fact that one very pleasant side effect many women experience is finding that their confidence is seriously boosted in the bedroom (which has the whole room smiling). Its clear that no-one here is going to become a professional burlesque dancer, but that doesn’t matter. It’s all about having fun.
When I ask how stripping differs from burlesque, Anna quickly clears the confusion, saying: “Stripping has connotations of the men being in a powerful role as the women perform. Burlesque doesn’t conjure up these same connotations and has a more innocent side, in that flesh exposure is done in a very different way. Its hidden by fans and other props, so from a women’s perspective I think its much more empowering, and appealing to other women.”
She goes on to say that burlesque truly is for women of all ages and sizes. “I think it’s the playful, more seductive side of burlesque that women embrace. The stereotypical burlesque dancer is not a model figure and has the usual lumps and wobbles. So, in this sense, a woman of any age with her more natural charms can feel a lot more comfortable in this style of dancing and sensuality. You need to have a bit of fat on you to shimmy and shake.” Perfect!
With a click of my heels and a twirl of my black feather fan, we are finished. Everyone clearly wishes the class was longer and we all hang around talking to Anna about this beguiling art form and what has spearheaded the striptease’s reappearance.
“Dita Von Teese has pioneered the resurgence alongside the corset fashion, which has brought burlesque style into the mainstream,” Anna explains. “ I also think films like Nine and Burlesque are helping the resurgence. If women have never tried burlesque before, we use some great music, props and choreography, combined with the skill of the teacher, to tap into that sensual side all women posses. We tend to find the ladies can’t get enough of it, and htat once they try it there’s no stopping them.”
I’m quickly realising that burlesque is all about attitude and self-expression: about being sassy and feeling beautiful and sexy in your own skin, whatever your size, profession or age. Its about releasing some of those needless inhibitions and letting a little bit of sparkle into your everyday life. Anna tells us that over the next few weeks we are going to continue to learn how to become seductive burlesque artists in our own right, using props like feather boas and long black gloves. Then we get to start choreographing our own routines. Watch this space, because the feathers are going to fly……
The Burlesque Revival Classes
Neo Burlesque or new Burlesque has seen a huge resurgence in popularity in recent years. Although still strongly based in the traditional art, comedy, satire and dance, the new burlesque offers a distinctly sexy style of dance, that has now become extremely popular as a form of leisure activity for ladies to learn in the form of burlesque classes.
As dance classes have experienced a return to favour for adults, so too has come about the has the popularity of burlesque classes. Neo Burlesque is what is focused on in our classes, with “tease” being the focus of the dance, versus strip. Using various props such as fans, satin gloves, parasols the routines are performed to great tracks of popular swing, burlesque style music.
The routines covered in the classes are cheeky, sexy and above all great fun to perform.
The intention of the burlesque classes are to be able to perfect a routine in each hour long class, so that you can then go home and perform your newly found skills to an awaiting audience.
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