HOT TOPICS: Why burlesque dancing is important in our society today

GMSW Burlesque Dancing City Academy

Who would have thought Burlesque would help change my views as a woman living in a society that isn't kind to the majority of us? 

When people think of Burlesque, they immediately think of erotic dancing, similar to that of a strip club. Coming from an African home, starting these classes was not something I was going to broadcast to my family.

The word Burlesque derives from the Italian word "burla", which means joke or mockery. In the Victorian era, Burlesque was used by females as a way to challenge how society saw them. A woman wearing anything other than the accepted clothing of the time was seen as shocking, and the costumes they wore were atypical. 

The shows included comical elements and were parodies of popular culture like opera and ballet.

Today, there are two types of burlesque dancing - traditional and neo-burlesque.

Classic Burlesque is a form mostly recognised with stripteasing, comedy, singing, and acrobatics. Neo-burlesque, although similar to classic Burlesque, which emerged in the 1990s, has more of a focus on exploring gender identity.

My motivation to try this out was because of society's pressure on women like myself, who do not conform to society's idea of beauty. I didn't feel attractive and confident, but also I wanted to be fitter and healthier.

In my first class, I was unsure of what to expect, but I attended with an open mind. Before we started the course, our instructor asked all the women to stand in a circle and share why they decided to join the course. Our answers were all similar, but confidence was the main reason why most of the women decided to try something new.

The eight-week course in the heart of London encouraged us to embrace our femininity, to build our confidence through taking part in something that made us feel more attractive, and by doing something that made us smile and embrace our uniqueness.

Now that I have finished the course, I can see how in the space of 8 weeks going to the classes changed my perception of myself. With the full-body mirror in the dance studio, you are forced to look at yourself as you dance, analysing your body.

This constant exposure gives you a sense of appreciation as I realised the so-called 'flaws' I have are not as bad as I think. 

GMSW Burlesque Dancing

For women who lack confidence, perhaps try out something new in your city that you wouldn't otherwise do.

Who would have thought that Burlesque would be life-changing? Try something new and share your experiences with us at GMSW.

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