The Debut!

It seemed like a long time in the making, but on Valentine’s Day I finally got to debut my first burlesque performance and my somewhat gormless “Roxanne Ready” persona. I thought I’d take this chance to make some final notes about my journey from burlesque enthusiast to performer . . .

1.) The Costume 

Over the course of this process, I seemed to teach myself everything the hard way, when it came to costuming (because doing things wrong first is generally the only way for me to learn how to do things right). Some tips I would give to other debutantes regarding building their first costumes would be a) Be Patient — always wait for your glue to dry; b) Be Realistic — don’t plan something beyond your current skill /means to carry out if you won’t have the time to learn those skills. c) Don’t  Be  Afraid  to  Ask  For  Help  — Of course the Headmistress is a costuming guru and a great resource herself– but also don’t be afraid to talk to other members of the burlesque community about what has and hasn’t worked for their costumes in the past. You can learn a lot by engaging in these conversations d)Be Comfortable — very near my performance I decided to change some major costume elements. I swapped out a top and skirt for a looser dress that was easier to get in and out of, and traded in my three inch heels for a pair of lower wedges. Wearing clothes that fit me better and made me feel more comfortable increased my confidence considerably. e) Know  that  Maintaining Your Costume is a Full Time Job — seriously, every time I practiced I would have to sit down for an hour after and glue things back on, tack things back into place, make some adjustment so the outfit fit me better. The number of rhinestones I dropped was truly flabbergasting.

2. The Persona

I would highly recommend having a defined persona. I had a lot of fun creating Roxy, and I think her habit of never quite knowing what’s going on, and never quite doing what she’s doing exactly right will give me a lot to play with in the future. It also allowed me to tack on a bit of “acting” at the start of my piece, which I enjoyed. Because I am a ham.

3. The Nerves

I was much more nervous about this performance before I made the adjustments to my costume mentioned previously — having pieces that fit and which you know will come off easily makes a huge difference! I did have some anxiety about “popping a pastie”, but even just with double sided tape my gigantic flower covers stayed put. One way I fought anxiety leading up to the performance (especially as I was so busy with other commitments and came down sick a couple weeks before the show, and so didn’t have ample practice time) was to visualize my performance, step by step and stage by stage until my mind was sure about what my body ought to be doing. I’d never really understood athletes and visualization until then. My other big worry was that I simply wouldn’t have enough energy to put on a convincing performance, but I was able to draw enough excitement from the other performers to give me the push I needed to go out smiling. Which brings me to my next point . . .

4. The Environment Backstage

Hanging out backstage while a show was going on was just amazing. I loved the camaraderie, with some of the older hats providing emotional support to us debutantes. Everyone back there was so encouraging, and as we lounged about helping each other with our costumes and our makeup and offering support and sneaking peeks out at whoever was on stage at the time I realized that this was perhaps the part I had most been looking forward to — simply being a part of something.

5. The Performance

By the time it was my turn to go out, most of my anxiety had faded. The performance went by in a blur, but man did I have a good time doing it. I let all of that visualization I’d been doing take over, and just went for it. If you’re wondering if it was fun, just look at my face in the picture below . . .I think that will answer the question.

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