It’s sultry and seductive and involves the words “bump” and “grind”… do you think you’d have what it takes to get your burlesque on? We sent Kim Booth and Peta Briggs along to try out QueenB Burlesque’s casual class and they certainly brought sexy back…
“We have ladies from 18 to 73 doing it and I’ve seen so many of them blossom” – Renee Jezard
Before the class…
This wasn’t the first time Kim and Peta had broached burlesque – they’d had the chance to strut their stuff at Peta’s hen’s night. “We’ve got an idea of what we’re in for, and we’re in trouble,” Kim laughed. “I’m more excited than nervous though – it’s a bit of fun and we can laugh at each other.” The girls were more worried about their coordination than the physicality of the class; plus how they’d cope (and look) busting the moves in heels with gym gear. “I’m used to sitting at my desk in heels, not dancing in them!” Peta laughed.
So what exactly is Burlesque?
QueenB Burlesque’s MissBillieBeau (AKA Renee Jezard) fell in love with a 1940/50s-inspired act when she saw it on stage in 2011. Renee has always danced and has taught and performed everything from zumba, sh’bam and Brazilian samba to jazz ballet, but there was something that instantly seduced her about the art of tease: “It’s very feminine and confidence-boosting,” Renee says.
MissBillieBeau made the top eight in the state finals of the Miss Burlesque Australia competition in 2014, performed in the Australian Burlesque Festival in Melbourne in 2016 and, more recently, has been selected to compete in Brisbane in Burlesque Idol Australia in 2017. Renee says the activity is accessible to all:
“The ‘bump and grind’ style is very easy to learn and a great starting point for people wanting to get back into fitness,” eshe explains. “We’ve had ladies from 18 to 73 doing it and I’ve seen so many of them blossom.”
Renee and Co-Director Libby Henderson (Vivienne Starr) and their instructors also teach other styles from the 20s, 30s, 60s and modern: “It doesn’t matter what size you are for burlesque and – although some girls like the vintage lacy bloomers and fishnet stockings – you can wear gym gear, or whatever else you’re comfortable in,” Renee says.
After the class…
We caught up with Kim after her burlesque experience to see what she thought.
Best part: I had fun stepping outside my comfort zone. I also liked that it wasn’t all play – it had structure too, which was good because I’d never done dancing before and this body ‘aint built for movin’!
Worst part: I was a bit freaked out with one of the moves – a super sexy walk – but that subsided pretty quickly with everyone else doing it and laughing. My choice of shoes was the other thing – I’m not used to wearing heels, but thankfully I was allowed to kick them off!
Tips: Relax and have fun, and remember it’s all about the art of tease. People do associate burlesque with stripping, but it’s not – it’s about creating a picture of something that may not happen.
Where: Various, including Genesis Fitness Thuringowa, Carthew Street
What to bring: Your hottest pair of heels teamed with whatever you feel comfortable in – lacy bloomers, hot pants and fishnets, or gym pants and a singlet.