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The Great British Burlesque Off Comes To Warner

Here at Warner Leisure Hotels, we’re committed to providing our guests with a varied range of activities to take part in – whether for fun, fitness or simply to meet new people. Many of you told us that you’d like to see burlesque dancing come to Warner – so that’s exactly what we’ve done!

Our Bodelwyddan Castle is hosting a Burlesque Boot Camp, culminating in a spectacular, show-stopping experience we’re naming the Great British Burlesque Off.

We’re teaming up with the dance experts at the Folly Mixtures to bring you two days of fun and intensive dance lessons –and at the end of your experience, we’ll be inviting you to get up on stage in the stunning Lowther Hall and showcase your fabulous new moves in our burlesque show dining experience.

To get you started, we’ve put together a short introductory guide to burlesque dancing, so you’ll have some idea of what you can expect from our Burlesque Boot Camp. Get ready to shimmy and shake your stuff on the dance floor!

What is burlesque dancing?

Burlesque is a combination of theatre, satire, comedy and music. When it comes to burlesque dancing, it’s all about the performance and putting on a spectacular show. There are male and female burlesque dancers but this style of dance predominantly attracts female dancers.

How did burlesque originate?

The term ‘burlesque’ comes from the Italian burlesco meaning joke, extravaganza or parody. It has been used since the late 17th century in the works of Chaucer and Shakespeare. Burlesque dancing came to the UK back in the 1830s as a form of evening entertainment. It then became popular in the United States from the 1860s to 1940s with dancers putting on burlesque shows in clubs and cabarets.

Some famous burlesque performers include Lydia Thompson, Gypsy Rose Lee, Sally Rand, Mae West, and more recently, Dita Von Teese.

Do you have any tips for hair and makeup?

When it comes to hair and makeup, the more dramatic the better. Remember, burlesque is about the performance so think statement brows, sultry smoky eyes, and ultra-long lashes. A sweep of blusher and bright red lipstick and you’re ready to take on the world!

As for your hair, performers generally wear it backcombed and up. Big hair is a winner for burlesque. Separate the front section of your hair and backcomb it before pulling back into a quiff and pinning into place. Curl the back section of your hair into a roll and secure in place on top of your head with more hair pins. A quick spritz of hairspray will keep it smooth and set.

What do I wear for performing burlesque?

During the boot camp training, it’s important to be comfortable. Think leggings and comfy shoes – the main thing to remember is that you’ll need to be able to move easily. When it comes to the show stopper performance on Thursday evening, you can dress as glamorous as you like. Traditionally, sequins, corsets and feather boas really help the dancer to put on a performance. Don’t worry if you don’t currently own these items though – a slim fitting dress and a pair of your highest heels will be more than enough to help you get into character.

What are some of the basic moves we will learn in the class?

The class will cover three basic burlesque moves: the Burlesque Shimmy, the Glove Peel, and the Fan Dance.

Burlesque Shimmy

The key to this move is to remain as loose as possible.

  • Stand upright, put your shoulders back and open your arms.
  • Now for the shimmy…shake your shoulders and chest.
  • You can then incorporate this into a routine. For example, you can move up and down while shimmying, or front to back, or even side to side.
  • Shake your lower body at the same time using your hips, making eye contact with the audience.

Glove Peel

Feel and reveal moves are all about being sultry and sexy, adding an air of intrigue to the performance.

  • Long opera-style gloves work well for this move.
  • Start with your right hand and gently tease the fingers of the glove loose, while arching your back. Slowly peel off the glove as you do so.
  • Switch hands and repeat the process.

Fan Dance

You’ll need a feather-covered fan for this move.

  • Hold the fan with your thumb on the inside facing your body, and your fingers on the outside facing towards the audience.
  • Keep your wrist loose as you incorporate the fan into a routine.
  • Reach out towards the audience with your fan, bring it back towards your face and teasingly hide behind it, before gently pulling the fan down the length of your body.
  • It’s as simple as that!

Now you know the basics, join us at Bodelwyddan Castle on 28 – 29 September and take part in our first ever Great British Burlesque Off.