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10 Essential Props to be a Burlesque Dancer

Updated on February 8, 2015

Inspiration for this lens...

Going to a burlesque show was not really on my list of things to do but it was a welcomed experience.

It was one of those deals on the internet and I happened to be invited just to fill the space of someone that couldn't make it. There was a big group of us and we decided to dress in theme. Everyone came dressed to the nines with accessories to match. Mini top hats, long length gloves and feather boas for the ladies and cigars and suit lapels for the gentlemen. And why not? It was to a night to be remembered!

Onward to the discreet location in the City of London, not knowing what to expect...

Striptease? Performance? Art form?

I would generally define burlesque as "a tasteful form of stripping" but after that night out, I realised that it was more than that. Maybe it was just the venue's atmosphere and decor that helped make the ambiance classy.

As the night went on, I began to realise that the whole evening did not concentrate solely on the elegant and teasing way the ladies moved their bodies and removed their clothes, but much more.

It was an entertaining evening filled with a mixture of music, comedy, song and dance and not to forget the chic three course meal that was presented to us. There must have been about five burlesque performers in all but they did not perform one after the other. There was a comedienne who got some of the audience involved, a contortionist and at the end of all the performances, a band played that got us all grooving!

All in all it was a great night so I wanted to share the experience and note down 10 essential props that accredit the performance that is BURLESQUE!

Dinner is served! - Preview of one of the delicious dishes of the night.

As I am such as foodie, I will be posting up a lens on the gourmet food that was served that night. This is a sneak preview of one of the dishes.
As I am such as foodie, I will be posting up a lens on the gourmet food that was served that night. This is a sneak preview of one of the dishes.

Notable Burlesque Performers

Want to know more on those who have made their name in burlesque?

Burlesque and the Art of the Teese/Fetish and the Art of the Teese
Burlesque and the Art of the Teese/Fetish and the Art of the Teese

Dita Von Teese is known widely as re-popularising burlesque. This is a two part photographic journey on modern American burlesque and the second part is a celebration of fetish style.


1. Clothing

The over clothes are just as important as the underwear. It defines the performer and the image she wants to show the audience.

These could be any form of dress depending on what era or style she wants to portray. Be it a long gown, a sexy cocktail dress or even just a negligee!

Be careful in choosing items that are fiddly to remove, you wouldn't want to embarrass yourself by getting stuck.

Burlesque costume ideas from Amazon

2. Stockings and suspender belts

Apart from the fact that they look sexy, they are also an essential part of the "tease" when removing them, Every performer will have stockings and suspender belts in an array of designs and colours.

3. Shoes

Of course worn to match the outfit, shoes perfect the image. They will eventually come off but might still be worn until the very end just to enhance the view of those pins. Heels can be as simple as plain stilletos that are patent or satin or outrageous as added feathers, fluff, glitter or jewels.

4. Corsets and underwear

Corsets, bodices and basques enhance the figure of a burlesque performer not to mention the different styles and designs they come in. Simply sexy!

Getting to the last layers now and underwear is just as important as all the other props mentioned. They can be as frilly, revealling or as simple as you want them. Make sure you have a collection!

5. Gloves

Long length gloves are a great part of your burlesque outfit. They can be removed as slow and provocatively as you like.

6. Pasties and Nipple tassels

If your routine goes as far as flaunting your 'breast' assets then these are essential burlesque props for cover ups. If you have practiced enough, incorporate tassel twirling as part of your routine.

7. Feather something

A feather fan or a feather boa can be perfect for covering and uncovering in your performance. it can be used to flash a bit of flesh here and there when doing your tease.

Feather fans and boas from Amazon - Essential burlesque props

8. Make Up

Accessorise you look with make up, done-up nails and jewellery. Don't be afraid to go bold with colour - Its all part of the look to match your style.

Make up tips YouTube

9. Chair or pole

Only use if you are confident to do so. Make sure you are fit and have practiced your choreography well before attempting to go live with these props. When you know how its done, these will be assets to your performance.

10. Music

You routine music could be anything but choose well to match the era and style of your performance. Try to choreograph your moves so they flow well with the beat and accent moves that go with the tune.

Want to make it as a burlesque performer?

Get to know those who are famous for it. Research old and new artists to inspire you. You might even find a role model to aspire to. Watch past performances and see how its done.

Attend dance classes to improve your fitness and flexibility. They might even encourage you to develop new choreography.

Practice and try to have a signature to make you unique and stand out.

Be confident and show it!

Feel like a star and be one!

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