2016 is almost over, and what a rollercoaster it has been; exhilerating and at times utterly crushing. The crazy, colourful carnival float of Burlesque has rolled on through it all, and many of us will be using the holiday season to reflect and prepare for the year to come. Be it your first year in burlesque – or in 21st Century Burlesque Magazine’s case, your tenth – 2016 has surely dealt achievement to be celebrated and learning experiences to grow from.
In 2017, Burlesque TOP 50 big-hitter Bella Blue challenges you to swear on your pasties the following commitments to yourself:
Burlesque Commandment 1
Stop working for people who use you. If you know what you should be making, don’t accept less. Don’t let someone use your talents for their own gain. Be able to back up your rates with facts about your worth as a performer. Be firm but respectful.
Burlesque Commandment 2
Don’t worry about where the money will come from. When you stand up and make a change for yourself for the better, the universe always shows up with the right opportunity.
Burlesque Commandment 3
Don’t apologise for things you didn’t do. If someone is uncomfortable with your boundaries, that is their problem.
Burlesque Commandment 4
Forgive yourself for ever accepting less than what you’re worth. That goes for work, relationships, friendships, etc. This is how we grow as humans and as an industry. Don’t keep repeating the same behaviours moving forward.
Burlesque Commandment 5
If you want to produce, produce the shows that you want to see. Our industry is undeniably saturated. On the flip side, that also means there’s a lot of people who want to see burlesque. Create an experience for the audience that is unique and unforgettable.
Burlesque Commandment 6
Learn. Take classes. You are never too good to keep learning. If you teach, look for the opportunities to learn from your students. Sometimes the most valuable lessons are right in front of you.
Burlesque Commandment 7
Give the audience what they need. You in turn will get whatever it is that you are needing.
Burlesque Commandment 8
Seek constructive criticism. No one ever gets better by constantly being told they are “amazing”.
Burlesque Commandment 9
Keep the blinders on and eyes on your own paper (confession: this one is especially hard for me). Put your energy into the work you are doing and allow others to do the same. What they are doing has nothing to do with you and vice versa.
Burlesque Commandment 10
There is no ‘end goal’ in this industry. The goal is to just keep working. Don’t abuse others to reach something that doesn’t actually exist.
Burlesque Commandment 11
In an industry that is mostly ego driven, challenge yourself to put the ego aside and see what’s left. That’s where the real magic is.
What else would you add to this list in 2017?
Quoted in major international newspapers and held in high esteem and affection by the international burlesque community, 21st Century Burlesque Magazine has documented the contemporary burlesque scene since 2007. Founded and edited by Holli-Mae Johnson.