moves to heat up your lovelife
Friend of Ricki Kate Fox: When it comes to intimacy, the best problem-solver is open, honest and loving communication. But what if your love life just needs a little kick in the pants, a shot of excitement to cut through the daily routine? You might want to try a little burlesque in the bedroom.
There seems to be a lot of confusion around the word “burlesque” these days. The classic perception of burlesque persists, as personified by legendary performers such as Sally Rand, Lily St. Cyr and Gypsy Rose Lee, but in the past few years the “burlesque” label has been loosely applied to Las Vegas dance revues, pop groups, Hollywood musicals, go-go dancing, pin-up modeling and more. So what IS burlesque, exactly?
burlesque [ber-lesk] noun
a form of live entertainment in which a performer attempts to engage the audience by removing his or her clothing in an artful, seductive, clever and/or amusing manner.
Okay, so I didn’t get that definition from Webster’s, but based on my years of experience as a burly-q performer and producer, this seems to be the simplest, clearest way to define the term for a modern audience.
Burlesque performers range from any ethnicity, nationality, shape, size, gender identification and sexual orientation. You do not, I repeat, do NOT need to have a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model body type to perform an alluring striptease. And while it takes a great deal of guts to perform burlesque in front of an audience, anyone can bring a little burlesque into the bedroom … and I’ll tell you how!
First, you’ll need something to wear...
LINGERIE - Corsets can be tricky for burlesque newbies, but chemises and baby doll slips are low-maintenance and flattering. Just add a matching bra (if necessary) and undies and you’re on your way. Victoria’s Secret, Frederick’s of Hollywood or Torrid probably have what you’re looking for, but don’t be afraid to try your local “romance” or adult shops, which often have lingerie at slashed prices. Fabrics such as satin and silk are classic, or feel free to go for a super-soft cotton - whatever feels luxurious against your skin. Black and/or red lingerie is the standard in sexiness, but bold, fun colors such as cobalt blue, hot pink and even neon yellow are trendy and eye-catching. Above all, pick something that makes you feel comfortable and attractive. And forget about shapewear. Burlesque is about confidence and playing up your assets, so emphasize the features you’re most proud of and try not to worry about the rest.
STOCKINGS - There are many varieties, but thigh-high stockings are undeniably sexy and generally go with any style of lingerie. It’s safest to add a garter belt so they don’t slip down while you’re moving, but it’s not essential if the stockings hug your legs snugly. My preferred style is black fishnet thigh-highs with backseams and lace trim, but don’t shy away from something more playful, such as stripes or bright colors.
SHOES - Heels are usually the way to go, but steer clear of platforms. Unless you wear them all the time, they can be risky. Unwieldy shoes can throw you off-balance and you don’t want to stumble in the middle of your routine! Choose a heel that isn’t too far removed from what you usually wear. And who’s to say Converse can’t be sexy? Again, wear what makes you feel good about yourself.
LONG GLOVES - The “glove peel” is a standard burlesque move and can buy you some time before you take off anything truly revealing. Any fabric will do - lace, satin, velvet - and the more pleasurable to the touch, the better. Pretty gloves can be found in most costume shops, as well as vintage stores and adult clothing retailers.
PASTIES (optional) - Pasties are unnecessary when you’re performing in the privacy of your home, but they can be a fun and unexpected finale to your routine. Great handmade pasties are all over Etsy.com in a variety of styles and colors. You can even try making your own! Pick up a copy of The Burlesque Handbook by Jo “Boobs” Weldon for tips and templates, or poke around online for tutorials. While some pasties are self-adhesive, most will require dress tape or spirit gum to attach to your body. Neither of these options are painful to remove and they won’t damage your skin.
PROPS and/or ACCESSORIES (optional) - This is the time to be creative! Fun burlesque accoutrements include top hats, fedoras, fascinators, feather or lace fans, parasols, riding crops and more. A prop can be the cherry on top of the sundae that is your routine.
Now for some burly-q beauty tips!
LIPS - Do you usually wear a particular lip color? Why not switch it up for a night? If you chose pink lingerie, go for a hot pink or tangerine shade. Black lingerie? Try a deep, dark red. Choose a color that flatters your skin tone, but doesn’t mimic your everyday look.
EYES - Personally, I feel naked (so to speak) when I perform without my false eyelashes, but falsies can be intimidating and there are simpler ways to play up your eyes. “Cat eye" makeup, usually accomplished with liquid liner and mascara, can be achieved with a little practice and video tutorials are all over YouTube. If you want to brave false eyelashes, they can be found at drugstores such as CVS, as well as cosmetics meccas like Sephora. If you’re a first-timer, avoid lashes that are especially long or adorned with embellishments. And don’t forget to buy the eyelash glue!
HAIR - Is it usually straight? Curl it. Do you wear it in a ponytail every day? Set it free! The idea is to try something new that shakes up your usual look. If you’re feeling especially bold, try a wig. Just be sure to use plenty of bobby pins and avoid anything that might scare your pets … or your partner.
SCENT - Vanilla and/or musk-based scents tend to be evocative and widely appealing, but go with your favorite fragrance if you’re uncertain. I love to dust a bit of Urban Decay’s Marshmallow Body Powder in my cleavage to add shimmer and a delicious scent. It’s lickable, too, which adds to the fun.
Almost there …
MUSIC - Is there a certain song that makes you sway your hips and sing along? It could be any genre, but the most important thing is to choose music that makes you feel sexy and stimulates your imagination. You will have so much more pleasure dancing for your partner if you love your music. If you need a starting point, Peggy Lee’s “Fever” is just the right balance of sultry and playful, with a leisurely pace and staccato beats for emphasizing your movements. Your song should be around three minutes or less. For newbie choreographers, that’s actually a lot of space to fill!
SPACE - Make sure you have room to move around and that your dance area is clean and clear of anything that could trip you up. Clutter can easily kill the mood and you don’t want to be thinking about laundry while you’re performing. Turn off the overhead lights and use a soft, flattering lamp for mood lighting, or burn some candles where they won’t be knocked over. And turn off all cell phones! This is not the time to be interrupted by a text message from your boss.
TIME - Don’t spring this on your partner when he needs to be out the door in ten minutes. Make sure you have a generous chunk of time free and clear for fun and send the kids to a friend’s or relative’s house for the evening.
Now you're ready to bust a move! Start with some burlesque standards:
THE STRUT - A sexy walk around the room can build anticipation and bring attention to your body. Put your hands on your hips and strut in a circle arou
nd the space, emphasizing the natural movement of your hips. Give a little wink and flash a smile.
LEG CARESS - It doesn't matter how far you bend over to do this, you just need to do it very, very slowly. Turn sideways toward your partner and put your weight on the leg facing away from him, bent slightly at the knee. Extend your other leg out in front of you a bit, with your knee slightly bent and toe pointed. Slowly caress your leg with both hands, from bottom to top, then bring the hand closest to your partner around to your bottom, fingers spread wide. If you're feeling particularly sassy, give your own butt a swat, snap the elastic on your thigh-high stockings, or tousle your hair with both hands.
GLOVE PEEL - This move is surprisingly hot and can be executed in a variety of ways. An easy variation that looks unbelievably sexy is using your
teeth to remove your glove. Gently bite and pull each finger of the glove to loosen it, then slowly pull your arm out, holding the glove steady between your teeth. (Hint: Use dark gloves to avoid lipstick stains.) Once you're done, try twirling the glove in front of your body or above your head like a propeller and tossing it gently behind you or in your partner's lap. Another easy maneuver emphasizes your cleavage. Hold one hand up near your chest, reach over with the other hand and grab the fingers of the glove, pulling it off across your chest. Twirl and toss. If you're feeling really naughty, hold the glove down between your thighs (your free hand holding the fingertips), then pull your hand slowly up toward your chest and out of the glove. Feel free to use the same peeling method for both gloves, or mix it up!
SHIMMY and/or BOOTY SHAKE - To do a shimmy, bend slightly at the waist, hold your arms down and a bit out to the sides, then shake your shoulders back and forth quickly - one shoulder forward, then the other. Remember, you’re aiming for maximum jiggle, so don’t shy away from it. Make eye contact and smile. To rock a booty shake, turn around, hold your arms above your head, look over your shoulder at your partner and wiggle your legs quickly - one knee forward, then the other.
BOOTY DROP - This is a more advanced move for those without knee problems. Begin by turning sideways and getting in a position like you’re going to do a squat, knees slightly bent, arms extended straight out in front of you, hands clasped. Bend your knees and lower yourself toward the ground as low as you can without losing your balance. Don’t push it! Start to stand up straight again, but roll your hips back and up, sticking out your bottom, and caress your thighs. The slower you execute this move, the better.
STRIPPING - A typical burlesque routine generally follows this order of clothing removal: 1) gloves, 2) costume or dress, 3) chemise, slip or corset, 4) shoes and stockings (feel free to keep them on, if you prefer) and 5) bra. Don’t remove your underwear, which will give your partner an item of clothing to take off of you later. As you peel each article of clothing, toss it aside or lay it gently across a chair, depending on your mood. Just make sure each piece is out of your way. For the grand finale, reveal your pasties and shimmy like there’s no tomorrow!
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! The more prepared you feel, the more confident you’ll be. Try all of the costume pieces together to see if any of them are giving you difficulty during the removal. Throw in your own favorite moves, leave room for improvisation and above all, have fun! If you’re enjoying yourself, so will your partner. Bring out your personality and make it your own. Your dance should be just as entertaining an experience for you as it is for your partner.
Kate Fox is the founder, producer and host of the Orange County Underground Burlesque Society (OCUBS), established in 2006. As a solo performer she has created burlesque routines for several producing groups in southern California, including Monday Night Tease, Peepshow Menagerie, Uncommon Burlesque and Red Light Revue. Her alter ego is an events assistant, actor and fledgling playwright who was named Best Actress of 2010 by the OC Weekly. In her free time she enjoys Disneyland, concerts, museums, the beach and consuming carbohydrates. She resides in Orange County with her sweet husband and their adopted chihuahua, Moo Moo. Read more from Kate here.