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How to Perform Burlesque

Burlesque is back, big-time. See if you have what it takes to pull off the centerpiece of these irreverent musical and comedy revues -- the striptease.


  • Step 1: Get a name Adopt a campy stage name. Some performers create a name that's a twist on a famous person; others use one that's a play on words. Some just pick a name that sounds sexy.
  • Step 2: Pick a song Pick a song specifically made for stripping along to. Or just use a blues or jazz tune you like.
  • Step 3: Get the right clothes Put together a costume. Think '50's pin-up girl: garter belt, stockings, corset, high heels, and elbow-length gloves.
  • Step 4: Choreograph your moves Put on your burlesque outfit, start the music, and practice your sexy stripping moves until you have a routine that marches to the beat of your song. Put a heavy dose of attitude in your performance: tease, flirt, preen, strut. Above all, have confidence.
  • TIP: Be sure to work in The Shimmy -- throw back your shoulders and shake your boobs so the tassels on your pasties spin in circles.
  • Step 5: Have a trademark prop Have a trademark prop. Burlesque queen Dita Von Teese has a giant martini glass filled with water that she climbs into at the end of her act.
  • Step 6: Don't take it all off Leave something to the imagination. You should end your striptease with your G-string, pasties -- and pride -- intact.
  • FACT: The term G-string reportedly comes from the American frontier, where it referred to the loincloth worn by American Indians.

You Will Need

  • Stage name
  • Striptease song
  • Costume
  • Choreography
  • Confidence
  • Trademark prop

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