Minsky Malone's burlesque workshop (16th April 2010)

The whole week’s been a whirlwind trying to get myself sorted for the Miss Burlesque NZ competition. Just one more day to the event, ONE more day and all the dramas and stress would be over and done with! I’m a SURVIVOR and WILL SURVIVE another day of struggle!!!!! ARGH!!!! And you wouldn’t believe what I agreed to do when the organiser rang me up today – I’ll be attending a burlesque workshop after work tonight taught by international VIP performer and judge of the Miss Burlesque NZ event, Minsky Malone…AND I’m not even finished with my dance routine yet!!!!

To be honest, if the competition wasn’t tomorrow, I would have no qualms booking myself on the workshop – I was just concerned I would be too worried and stressed out about my performance and not fully participate in the workshop with Melbourne-based international burlesque performer Minsky, who is also the founder, creative director, choreographer, stylist, costume maker and performer of House of Burlesque. Cost me $50 for the 1.5-hour workshop and I also got a free general admission ticket (normally $25 for the standing ticket) to the Miss Burlesque NZ event, which was a really good deal. Plus I may just learn a few moves I could incorporate into my routine – wish me luck!

Turned up at Pole Dance Aotearoa on Edward St at 6pm for the workshop. I never knew there was a proper pole dance studio here – cool! Must come by to check out their free introductory class another day. There were about 7-8 of us girls in the class including me, Grace and pole dance instructor Shirley. The studio itself was dimly lit to create the mood with theme song from Pink Panther playing in the background.

Minsky was all dressed up in a sexy dress, her bob hair in jet black and smoky-eyed make up with gorgeous red lips and high heels to suit. On first impression, you would think this gorgeous woman was powerful enough make men weak in the knees just with her eyes – her persona was strong and confident, even I felt a little shaken and intimidated yet there was something attractive about her, making you want to ‘worship’ her. Hmm…

Our 1.5-hour class ended up being 2 hours long with the majority of the class listening to Minsky’s words of wisdom on burlesque and stage performance. The world of burlesque has long been tainted by strippers and today seen as yet another strip performance and less an art/dance form. I agree with Minsky that burlesque is an art of teasing and how a tease move when done too quickly or incorrectly can easily be seen as sleaze. We need more TEASE and less SLEAZE, that’s for sure!

She taught us a short fan dance routine to the Pink Panther theme song. The steps were easy to follow but holding the huge ostrich feather fans weren’t! The fans were huge enough to cover my whole height minus my head and they were heavy, digging into my palms and I found it hard to keep the fans fully opened. Hmm, I think I prefer my small peacock fans better…We also learnt how to interact with the audience with Minsky coming up close to Grace showing us how to slowly caress the face and arm, ending with a naughty slap on the wrist. Haha, brilliant! The last trick she taught us was how to peel the gloves off smoothly. It was a fun workshop though I didn’t really learnt much for use in my dance routine. I reckon that Minsky should come to Wellington again for a full day workshop – 2 hours just ain’t enough!

Minsky was very encouraging, telling us (I think she was really talking to me and Grace but addressed the whole class) that we were all winners for just joining the competition and that it was all about having fun. Yes, I’m just going up on stage tomorrow and not think about it as a competition (well, I haven’t enough experience to compete with the other contestants who have been performing for years) – I’m just going to have fun! But for now, time to head back to Webb St Studio to finish up my routine. 2 more hours of dancing and a final crack at completing the routine. God, I’m so hungry right now but will only be able to have dinner at 10.30pm :(


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