I can say from experience that it takes a certain kind of guts (and a few shots of Cazadores) to get up in front of everyone in a room (mercifully dimmed as it may be) and deliberately remove most of your clothing, even if you do so wielding a large dangerous weapon (I had a two-month career as a sword-twirling burlesque dancer…and no, you’ll never find pics). I can’t fathom the kind of brass balls it must take to do it without a prop (there was something about holding it that made me feel safer up there–weird, I know), but God bless the women who manage it, because they make the retro stages of Los Angeles that much more aesthetic to gaze upon.
If you’ve always been intrigued by burlesque, you can dip your toe in the hot, sexy water with this 6-week class (scroll down to “Beginner Burlesque”) offered by the illustrious Red Snapper herself, who’s run with the icons of burlesque and absorbed all their tricks and tips. Mention “Snapper sent me” when you enroll for a discount. She’ll cover “glove removal,” “boa play,” various striptease techniques and how to tie it all together with simple choreography. She’s instructing through the Striptease Symposium, and I’ve taken a class through them before with Princess Farhana, LA’s own punk poet angel of burlesque (the infamous Pleasant Gehman, for those who know her that way). I can vouch for Striptease Symposium. Great classes, great instructors, great prices. You’ll be among great company, too: the first class I took there, I found myself seated next to Margaret Cho.
Try it out even if you never plan to grace a stage. ‘Cause I can also tell you–from experience–that few things are more empowering than learning to appreciate your own body.