We are made of stories. Stories we tell ourself about who we are, what we can and cannot do, what is and isn’t for us. Choosing to believe or to change this stories makes us who we are.
For ages I’ve been convinced that stepping out of the comfort zone wasn’t for me. I was wrong. When I look back, I did it countless times without even realising. I started this blog, for example, jumping from a secret diary to the wide and sometimes cruel world wide web. I’ve told about my issues with identity and maternity online, accepting the good and the bad coming from that. Oh, yes: I became a mum. I moved to the UK. I tried a bunch of things from paragliding to flamenco to pole dance to aerial hoop to Idontevenremember.
There’s one thing I haven’t tried for a long time though, and that is reclaiming my body and my damn right to feel fabulous.
Yeah: I wake up most days feeling like crap. I take care of my body but I could definitely do better. I sometimes
dance dress like no one is watching. I’m pretty but not so stunning. Oh wait… here we are again! Reclaiming this right is probably way out of the comfort zone a woman is ‘supposed’ to step: we are somehow taught that if you’re not perfect then you don’t have the right to feel 100% good in your own skin. You should act a bit apologetically, and appear accordingly. That’s so wrong, especially if you consider you only have one single life and you should: 1. make whatever you want out of it and 2. feel happy.
Wanting to both try something new and defying this belief, I signed up for something I had wanted to try for a long time: a Burlesque course.
I stepped into House of Burlesque’s dance studio off Old Street a bit intimidated. I have some dancing skills but that doesn’t certainly makes me feel comfortable in acting sexy in front of people, not to mention the undressing thing. Well, from the first moment I felt like ‘wow, this place is so empowering’.
First: it’s great to have a teacher called Tempest Rose, isn’t it? Second: it’s great to be together with other girls who are there with the same insecurities yet the same will to overcome them (while having fun).
It’s also quite a relief and so motivational to hear that in order to appear fabulous you have to believe you’re fabulous. There’s no other way.
(distant Beyoncé clapping)
During the first lesson we learned something about discovering our Burlesque alter-ego and a few dance steps + Burlesque classic moves. We tried some walking styles and poses and we also learnt a bit about the two main different types of characters: the femme fatale (basically, an ass-kickin’ vamp in chief – which I personally prefer) and the pin up (the sweet but sexy naive-looking bombshell) > I really hope those descriptions sound correct, in case any burlesque lover is reading this.
The second lesson was all about creating a choreography. It was amazing to see girls who never danced before successfully creating their minute-long dance. After all, in Burlesque it’s 50% dancing and moving but also 50% attitude – if you just can dance it’s not enough.
The best bit of the lesson was ‘declaring’ our Burlesque names. I has spent the whole week thinking about a good name but for some reason only the most obvious ones kept bouncing in my head. Then I thought about the things I like, or names I love. I ended up with a shortlist with different names I could combine differently. I liked November, the month I was born. Juno, like the goddess. Stardust and Starlight. And Stella.
Yes, Stella. I liked the sound of it. And I tried to match it with something as strong. For some reason, I though about ‘brave’!
Wow. That sounded powerful.
Yes: Stella Brave. Here is my Burlesque name for now. How does it sound?