Over the weekend, I had the chance to attend a very unique and longstanding convention of Bellydancers of Color. This rich and vibrant gathering of multicultural sisters is on it’s 6th year and offered a wide variety of courses to select from – including Bellydance Intro classes to Hiphop bellydancing, Bellydance and Yoga for Flexibility and Hormones (health), bellydance to find your soulmate, (sensuality). Bellydancing works the region of your abdomen and reproductive organs. Keeping that area fit and active will help prevent fibroids, according to my teachers for the day. This is also something that you use in your sensual arsenal.
Of all the classes that I could have taken, ranging in price from $20-45 dollars, I was led to the Black Girl Burlesque, perhaps from my last experience at Moca DC gallery in Georgetown, where I am the #foursquare Mayor.
Burlesque has intrigued me since Chuck Bass in Gossip Girl proposed an after hours spot to his father. The spot was extravagant and so was the dancing. I’m also sensitive to Burlesque as a part of owning, creating, and redefining stereotypes of black female sexuality. In the class, taught by two women of color from the New York area, they opined, Hugh Heffner created the current images of sexuality, based on the chorus girl, but in the tall, blonde hair blue eye context.
There was comedy in the class
We all laughed when our instructors encouraged to find our sexy on the inside. “Strippers are too stressed out,” they said.
Burlesque is about the art of story telling, often using the dance as a part satire, part commentary. Burlesque relies on part costume, part musical elements, and a large part of sensuality, based on the attire. The costumes include lingerie with embellishments such as pasties and boas.
The class featured novices and some more experienced bellydancers. All participants embraced a sensual stage name and a corresponding movement. After we played around with the boas and learned choreography to Prince’s Delirious and tracks by Dinah Washington.
It was an excellent introduction to the world of burlesque. Where I’ll take it….well, I’m scared to know now myself.