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Expand your burlesque knowledge in the new year!

Happy New Years!
Happy New Years!

Happy New Year! As 2010 gets underway, we all get going on that long list of New Years Resolutions. If you want to break out of your shell this year, you might consider adding a few unexpected things to the to-do list that will help awaken your inner dancing diva. Sure, we all want to do things like "lose weight," and "volunteer more often," that while worthy, are vague enough to ensure failure. For those of us wanting to encourage our inner wild child to cut loose, or, for those who may want to de-mystify that crazy world of burlesque, music, and stage magic, here are five suggestions on how to make your 2010 a more playful year than the last.

1. Explore some films not on readily at your fingertips.

A trip to the video store today will find you surrounded by shallow blockbusters like Transformers and G.I. Joe, but look a little deeper for some classic films that will introduce you to the names you've always heard but performances you've never seen. In my case, I had to join Netflix to have access to gems like Gypsy (the 1962 classic starring the ravishing Natalie Wood, also seek out the Bette Midler version as well), Caberet (the 1972 Bob Fosse masterpiece showcasing Liza Minnelli), The Night They Raided Minsky's (about the 1930s crackdown on burlesque shows and theaters), Varietease or Teaserama (1954 and 1955 offerings from pin-up queen Bettie Page), the Marx Brothers' A Night at the Opera, or more modern fare like Moulin Rouge, The Notorious Bettie Page, Chicago, or even the currently-in-theaters Nine. All will encourage you to think beyond the current Hollywood blockbuster and explore some of the more creative gems on film.

2. Use that holiday money to treat yourself to something fun.

You have spent the last two months buying things for family and friends, avoiding all temptation to spend money on yourself. Although you are now left paying off the credit card bills (or the bills you were ignoring), use some of that holiday gift money to splurge on yourself. That's what it was for, after all. In Indianapolis, visit Hot Topic at Circle Center, Charlotte Ruese at Metropolis, or XO Paradise on Main Street in Greenwood for funky fashions that will give your wardrobe attitude. Visit stores like Silver in the City to buy yourself that snowglobe ring you've been eyeing. Or, log on to, my new favorite website, for a host of handmade burlesque products, ranging from corsets to hats to everything in between. Splurge on yourself.

3. Sign up for a dance class.

Look around your neighborhood for some dance classes that fit into your schedule. Me, I am learning to mambo this winter at the Arthur Murray studio in Broad Ripple. If I had the time, I would sign up to learn tap and salsa as well. There are swing dance clubs that welcome beginners on up, ballroom dancing groups that put on a host of events, and even modern and hip hop dance workshops that will teach basic ways to move. Check to see if your gym has any dance-oriented workout classes like Zumba or RyuTe. In March, Bottoms Up Burlesque will host a burleque workshop taught by America's Got Talent finalist Michele L'amour...sign up and learn the basics of burlesque! There are always opportunities to get more physical activity through dance and movement. They are more fun than you realize!

4. Engage your inner diva.

One of the most important parts of being a burlesque girl is looking the part. Learn new ways to put on your make-up. Invest in some fabulous feathered fake eyelashes for your night on the town. Take the risk to try those ridiculous heals you cannot imagine wearing out in public. Instead of boring old nylons, get yourself some stockings with little black lines up the back, or even better, bows. Enjoy those funky little handbags that are not particularly functional, but boy do they look good. Learn new martini recipes and get yourself some funky new martini glasses to host your girlfriends. Never be ashamed to carry an overly garnished drink. Perfect your "walk." We tend to get so focused on being practical that we forget to have fun.

5. Attend more local arts and theater events.

Really, the number one way to inspire your inner spirit is to immerse yourself in the creative energy of others. You cannot create in a black hole. Take in what others have to offer, surround yourself with creative people and those who are hungry to feed their spirits. Local plays, traveling shows, and art exhibits are great ways to challenge yourself to experience something new. In Indianapolis, make a pledge to visit at least one performance at the Pheonix Theater or the American Caberet Theater. Attend at least one show by Dance Kaleidescope or Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre. Wander in for a performance at the Earth House Collective or treat yourself to an event put on by Storytelling Arts. Make it a priority to get out for First Fridays, where art galleries all over the city open their doors and invite all to attend. Experience the local museums so easily at your fingertips, including the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, and when it opens in March, the newly renovated Indiana History Center. Make a pledge to attend at least one event or venue each month, and even if you hate what you see, you will feel more connected to your community and more "in-the-know." The best way to demystify the arts is to immerse yourself in them.

So, happy New Years to everyone, and best of luck on all your resolutions. I know I am looking forward to a great 2010 filled with new things, new people, and many new ways to be completely fabulous.


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