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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Top 10 Burlesque Moves

Here is Shimmy’s Top Ten List to be an Authentic 1950s Pin-Up.

1. The Tease. The tease is a very well known move that all burlesque dancers and pin-up models do even if they don't know they are doing it. It is performed by teasing the audience or the camera into believing that they are going to see something great. Of course, these models are great, but it is the subtle nuances that leave the viewer wondering what comes next…

2. The Flirt. This move is something that nearly all girls do, even if it is done subconsciously. That is what pin-up is all about...flirting! Being coy and fun, jesting with the audience and playing games is the hallmark of a pin-up. Flirting with the men (and women in some cases) is why people come to the show.

3. The “Did I Do That?” Look. This move is the facial expression that you see most often on the women’s faces when they are on stage. Apart from an ear to ear grin, the fake look of shock and the pursed lips that seem to say "Did I Do That?" is the facial expression of choice for pin-ups. It’s as if being on stage (or in front of the camera) beckons them do things that ordinarily they would never do!

4. The Unaware or Accidental Exposé. The model or dancer will show something “accidentally,” (a flash of bloomers or a thigh through a slit skirt, perhaps). This move is 100% intentional, but to be pulled off, must look as though it is a complete surprise. This move is most likely followed by #3, the "Did I Do That?" look.

5. The Knowing or Intentional Exposé. This move says, “I know I'm showing you something sexy and I like it!” These are the planned out moves that the dancer fully lives up to and owns. She might shake the upper half or shake the lower half, but surely an act that is this sexy and bold and cannot be mistaken for an accident.

6. The Quiver. The quiver is the technical term for a vigorous shaking of the bosom. It is most effective when done in time with the music and is usually done at the end of a routine to add a little flavor. It is the icing – or the cherries – on top of the cake!

7. The Shimmy. This is my personal favorite move (I'll give you three guesses why…). This move is used in more disciplines than just burlesque. It is very popular in Middle Eastern dance, which is where I found it. It is not widely know that the shimmy has more to do with the knees than with the actual hips. The shimmy can be achieved by first standing with feet slightly apart in preparation of the second part of the move. With feet slightly parted, bend your right knee, ever so slightly, and then your left knee. Do this in rapid succession and you might just surprise yourself at your ability to shimmy! Just be aware that to gain the namesake, you have to be very skilled.

8-9. The Bump and Grind. The bump and grind has earned a bad rap in the last couple of decades because the term has been misused. The bump is not a stripper move to be used in the back rooms of clubs while giving a lap dance. The bump is simply a shift of the hip in time with the music. Music of the fifties used big drum beats and the bump was used to coincide with the drums.

The grind has really gotten a bad name, but it is just as harmless as the bump. The grind is simply a circular rotation of the hips. Sadly, in recent days it has taken on an almost perverse sexual meaning. The grind can be found in many different kinds of dancing just like the shimmy. There is a move in Belly Dancing very similar to the grind, known as the Figure Eight.

10. The Wink. Last but certainly not least is the wink! This move can be very sexy if executed correctly. It is used to tease your target audience....men! If used in a smaller venue it can be applied to one man or, in larger venues, the wink will read to every man in the audience as if you are doing a special show just for him. This is a very important move when it comes to burlesque and modeling. Making your audience feel special is a priority to be successful actor, model, or dancer. If used in conjunction with some of these other moves a burlesque dancer might just get a standing ovation!

Erica Crabtree Mossholder & Shimmy Von Braun. Photo by Ben Burrows

2 comments:

Taylor said...

I love this post.

Vivienne Vermuth said...

I LOVE this! I hope ya'll don't mind, but I linked to this on my blog, I want to share this with everyone!