Thursday, May 2, 2013

Auditions and Anniversary

Originally published March 22, 2013 on Dieselpunks After Dark

When I got into extreme sports, I started seeing places all around me that would be a good obstacle to tackle on Rollerblades or a jump for my bicycle.  I never acquired the skill to do most of my imagined stunts, but even now, I still think about how cool it’d be to ride my skateboard off a ledge.  After the Dallas Burlesque Festival, I started to get the same increased level of inspiration with burlesque.  I’d develop the concept for an act during work, or a song would suddenly make me want to bump and grind.  A fire had been lit under me, and I was ready to continue to progress as a burlesque student.

First, I stopped making excuses for not moving up from the beginner’s class.  Yes, the bus schedule was a bit inconvenient, but there was a way for me to get home without having to walk in the dark.  I needed the challenge of combos and choreography– I wanted it.  Next, I decided to be more proactive in continuing my stage kitten career.  I made plans to audition for the Ruby Revue, and once the Clever Girl Cabaret site went live, I asked them whether they needed any for their new show.

By JD Morgan Photography
I was a little confused about what a stage kitten audition would entail.  The call, which was directed at anyone looking to be a part of the Ruby Revue, instructed us to have a piece prepared and come dress up.  After much deliberation, I decided that it wouldn’t hurt to come up with a mini routine.  I still wasn’t sure that I needed to do it, but when I saw everyone else performing something at the auditions, I had to give it a go.  I was panicking though because I didn’t have the songs I needed on my iPod and I had forgotten my back-up CD in the rush out of the door (I need to learn that make-up still takes me much longer than expected and to not do shopping the morning of).  Fortunately, Renee Holiday let me borrow her music, which included something I had been practicing to.  I was so nervous that I forgot some of the moves, but the producers, Ginger Valentine and Missy Lisa, seemed pleased by my efforts.  Although I could’ve done better in terms of preparation and execution, I was proud of myself for taking a chance.

Since I knew I would be dressed up for the audition, I scheduled a photoshoot with my friend Jonathan Morgan afterward.  I had these neon pink-and-black socks that were nixed for a potential burlesque/pin-up outfit, but I really liked them with my pink bottoms and black bra.  The whole look embodied my quirkiness, which I would probably play up in a stage persona.  Jon also had me do more delicate, feminine shots to compliment the fascinator I bought from Dallas Pin Up.  Those were less me, but it's good to practice versatility.  The shoot was fun though I learned I still have a long ways to go in being more aware of my face and body.  I’ll get practice in dance class.

A few days after the auditions, I found out that I got the part of a stage kitten.  To add a cherry on top, the Ruby Room studio also deemed me their Student of the Month.  While I’ve been trying to not let compliments build my self-esteem, the recognition only fueled my desire to keep working on my nascent burlesque career.

As a side project, I had volunteered to do a panel on the History of Burlesque at All-con.  I’d done a similar presentation for a dieselpunk meeting, but this time I would only have an hour.  I also asked Black Mariah to join me.  Despite the late start and some stalling for time, the presentation went really well.  There were many attendees, and Black Mariah complimented my “straight man”, Power Point approach to presenting with wild stories of burlesque legends and humorous commentary.  We both got positive feedback the days following the convention, and I would love to work with her again so look out for the panel again at All-con 2014.

By JD Morgan Photography
As for the Clever Girl Cabaret stage kitten roles, they were already filled.  I was perfectly fine with that since a part of me missed photographing performances.  It’s another way I feel I can contribute.  My involvement in the community had given me the courage to network, something I still loathed to do in other aspects of my life.  All the friendly people I’ve encountered have really helped me come out of my shell even if I still feel shy at times.

Yesterday was my one year anniversary with the Ruby Room.  I’m amazed at how far I’ve progressed as a burlesque student and as a person who is working to be more confident and independent.  I’m trying not to rush myself or get caught up in the idealism of a new world.  There will be rejection, critics, and other unpleasant things.  For now, I’ll continue to work on self-improvement outside of burlesque and do more research on issues within the community.  Just as I didn’t exactly know where signing up for burlesque classes would take me, I remain open to many possibilities for the future.  Doors have been opened, and I’m becoming more confident about marching straight through them.

No comments:

Post a Comment