The Burlesque Experience

So yesterday i took a Burlesque Dance class. It took a little bit of convincing since i’m not a trained dancer and i didn’t want to look like a confused child amongst all the other trained attendees. But i’m so glad i went. It was freaking fantastic. (Thank you Air Dance Philippines and congratulations! :))

Our instructor was the very lithe and stunning Denna Thomsen, who stood 100 feet tall and was all legs and sexiness. She’s been in tons of music videos and has performed in i don’t know how many shows. All i know is, i think i’ve fallen a little bit in love with her.

Grabe naman yung kilikili niya! Ka-level ni Andrea Corr!

You may know her as the woman that Shia LaBeouf gets nakey with in Sigur Ros’ single “Fjögur píanó”.

Although she moves so wonderfully in the video, the Denna Thomsen i met wasn’t the soft butterfly i saw there. The one who stood in front of me was this incredibly fierce woman who walked into the room and made me want to swear off french fries forever.

As expected, i never got to dance the whole choreography without mistakes. In fact, the first 30 minutes were quite terrifying. She made us dance “Cell Block Tango” from Chicago, and although the movements weren’t complicated, we had to move from one thing to another so quickly that it took me a while to get comfortable. Not only that, she separated us into groups and so i couldn’t hide behind anyone! Seriously, i think at one point i was holding back tears.

After a couple of runs, she said that we were all dancing too softly, too innocently. She wanted us to bring everything onto the floor, ignore the people who were watching, and just dance. Bring the character to life with our faces and our movements. She pointed out that what might look sexy on her might not look the same on us, and so we had to explore the movements. We had to discover what worked for us. So i said,

Ganon ah. Projek pala gusto mo. Um! Etong sayo!

(yes i just discovered that quote thing now, i just had to use it. Sorry.)

So ANYWAY, i spent the next hour discovering what looked good on my body, what made me feel confident. I zoned everyone out, listened to the song and danced the fiercest that i could. I made mistakes but ignored them and kept going.

Now what i’m about to say is in no way boastful — i just feel like i need to share what Denna said to me because, well, IT MADE ME SO HAPPY!

After 3 million runs, she called me out (“the girl in the purple shirt”) and asked for my name. Then she said that it was my best run yet, and she couldn’t take her eyes off me. And i was getting better with every run. “WHAT! SAY IT AGAIN I’LL RECORD IT!” Was what I wanted to say. But all i could muster was a sheepish “thank you.”

Like i said earlier, i’m not a trained dancer at all (unless clubbing counts?) and all my life it has been my frustration to be one. And having a fantastic performer like her say something like that to me just made me feel so validated as a Polecat and as a future TV Host! (Bawal kumontra. Mangyayari rin yan)

Now i don’t know anything about the Burlesque movement, but Denna was adamant about distancing it from stripping. What she wanted us to do was be comfortable with our bodies, and be able to look at ourselves and absolutely love what we see. I really appreciated that, because i really don’t think a lot of women feel that enough. Being sexy doesn’t have to be about seducing or impressing the opposite sex. It’s about loving how God made you, and that should be enough.

At the start of the class, she said something like, “you’re going to discover something about yourself today.” And i guess my discovery was this: even if i can’t, but if i really want to, then i should anyway. Today it brought me a compliment that sent me over the moon. Who knows what’s gonna happen next time?

Very sweaty me and Bb. Pilipinas Margaret with Denna!


4 thoughts on “The Burlesque Experience

  1. Hogi Cadlum (@hogicadz) says:

    I can totally relate, as I also don’t have any dance background whatsoever when I started taking ballroom classes this year. When my teacher asked me to dance with him for an event, I was also close to tears half an hour before we had to dance because I my steps weren’t as clean as he expected it to be. But to quote you on your “Ganon ah. Projek pala gusto mo. Um! Etong sayo!” I did that during the actual performance, and in fairness, nagustuhan din ng teacher ko yung execution ko when we danced together. Hahaha! =)

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