The class consisted of five individuals with different experience levels and performance backgrounds. We began with talking about stage names and personas, which helped me finally settle on a name (I'll elaborate more in future post). Lily then had us channel our personalities through our walks. Although burlesque walks were nothing new for me, I’d been focusing so much technique that I wasn’t sure what to do at first. When it was my turn, I reminded myself of the dancer I wanted to be–someone tough and punk rock yet still graceful and flirty– and I let that be my guide.
My other challenge came in costuming. The outfit was pretty basic: bikini top, skateboard shorts, and heels. I lucked into being given a swimsuit with ties (something I’d never buy for myself). I would've liked it to be less frilly, but it matched my shorts really well. The one thing I had to make was the wig from the yarn that Lily gave us. Despite being a cosplayer, I'm not really crafty. Fortunately my partner had some suggestions, and I had planned on wearing a bandana.
There wasn’t any requirements on how much we had to take off. I wasn't sure I wanted to go down to pasties and panties (my substitute bikini bottoms since the ones that came in the top were too big). Burlesque has helped me combat years of self-image issues resulting from bullying and two cultures’ standards of beauty, but I still had the irrational fear that people would be disgusted by my naked body. I kept wavering on my decision until I came home from rehearsal and watched the X Games. The “go big or go home” spirit of the athletes inspired me to take it all off. I had to commit 100%.
|Photo from Panty Raid's facebook page|
I am so thankful for the opportunity I was given and for the kind individuals who were with me on this journey: Lillith; Lily; Effy; my classmates Cheyenne, Coraline, Nella, and Vita; and my friends who came out to support me. The Panty Raid crowd was so welcoming and enthusiastic; it would be awesome to perform in another one. I know I have a ways to go before I can do my first solo or be more than a student performer, but I took a giant leap with my debut, conquering a long-time phobia and learning to seize the day. Life’s too short not to give things like this a shot.