Suanne Brady

Suanne Brady

Practice Makes Perfect

Or, Oh, No! I forgot my pants!

pantslessWow, what a great, exhausting, and crazy weekend. Friday night Marsha Maven and I wandered out to do some serious make-up shopping at the MAC counter at Mall 1 where I may have been overheard saying “Would you sell this highlighter to a drag queen?”. We dropped some serious dough at Macy*s and the Make-up Artist who helped us was intrigued when I brought up burlesque, this ended up being a trend for the entire weekend. Note to self: business cards.

Next up was Sephora, I hate to even mention them, they always make me feel unwelcome. I get that on a normal day I don’t look like a makeup girl, but when I’m carrying around a MAC bag wouldn’t you think they’d get the hint that I have good taste in makeup? SIGH

We left Mall 1 and headed to Mall 2 for beads I’d seen in the craft store’s ad – found the beads but they were cheap looking. So… I ended up spending $50 on “I don’t remember”. A short stop at Five Guys and we were back in the car on our way to Mall 3.

2014-08-24 15.28.21-2Of course, the store we wanted wasn’t in Mall 3, it was across the street from Mall 3. When we found Lane Bryant I was hoping that they’d have some sweet 42DD bras on the clearance rack but my rack was disappointed. I had to pay full price instead and the most expensive bra is the one I bought to cut apart and make into a tear-away. I’m going to hell.

So when I told the sales people what I was doing with these bra’s they got really excited and asked me to bring them back when I’m done so they can see them. Again, the reaction was excitement and curiosity about burlesque in RVA and I was floundering to figure out how to get them all the information so they can come to a show. And, afterwards, I may have also gotten a kitten – not a stage kitten, but a real fluffy adorable one named Lilly Potter. Marsha, Lilly, and I made our way home with the massive shopping stash but it was early to bed for me. Saturday morning I had to drop Marsha off at work before heading to the studio for rehearsal time.

Rehearsal time
So here’s the serious bits. I felt compelled to get in front of the mirror, not just to rehearse, but to see myself and make peace with what I’m doing, and plan to do, with my body. I wanted to wear my new bra with my swim bottoms, but I managed to forget my swim bottoms, so I opted for tanktop and undies (blurry pic above). When my practice partner arrived at the studio I opened the door and said “Sorry, I’m not wearing pants.” She laughed and all was well. We worked a bit on our group number but both of us were struggling with some of the timing on the 2nd half of the routine so we went to separate corners and did our things – I hogged the mirror, I feel guilty. I will say that wearing pants gave me a view of my legs that was really very nice, I guess I focus on my cleavage because it’s just right here next to my eyes but my legs are good too.

I worked myself into a healthy glow (because dancer’s don’t sweat), but was quickly discouraged that the choreography work I thought I’d done wasn’t sitting properly with the music. I needed to really slow down and look at the phrases of music more carefully. I was able to come up with some cool steps for an important part of the story, and to figure out where I don’t need so many steps. So, there are bits and pieces of my solo that I feel confident about. I was able to see myself moving like a dancer, some graceful movements and some confidence, which made me really happy and that gave me some more confidence. I left feeling both great at how hard I had worked, and bummed out about the state of my act.

Finding Inspiration
Saturday evening was The Richmond Burlesque Review and it was spectacular. I don’t even have words to describe how wonderful the performances were from Mourna Handful, Deanna Danger, Deepa de Jour (Producer), Ellie Quinn, Empress de Naste, Jendetta, Lindy Avalon, Melody Magpie, and Violet Fontaine. I laughed, I was breathless, I may have even shed a tear, and I learned so much watching these talented women perform. I learned things directly related to the challenges I was feeling with my choreography earlier in the day, like:

  • Take your time
  • You don’t need to fill up every second of music with dance steps
  • It’s your stage enjoy it
  • Make sure you create spots to engage with the audience
  • Don’t forget the tease
  • Plan to have fun
  • Enjoy playing your character
  • Play with the audience
  • Relax and connect!

I’ve only been attending shows since April, and I have seen the RVA women of burlesque are raising the performance bar with each successive show.

2014-08-23 16.58.40-1Before working on costuming, early on Sunday, Marsha and I hit JoAnn’s to shop for a variety of fabric and trim for our costumes, the woman cutting our fabric said it was quite an exciting pile of things. Replay the earlier conversations about burlesque and wishing I had a business card; Everyone I bump into is so supportive and excited about burlesque. I feel like a walking ambassador for glitter and pasties!!

Speaking of pasties – class tomorrow is pastie making, and tassel twirling. Let the shimmy’s begin!

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