Every November burlesque performers from across the continent and beyond flock to Seattle to get their booties kicked by some of the best instructors in the business. With a bevy of classes, social events, and vendors, this week can be an overwhelming blur so here are a few tips for BurlyCon first-timers.
1- Get Soaked!
But not in the Seattle rain. These instructors are at the top of their game. They are talented and full of years and years of acquired knowledge. Be a sponge and soak up everything they are sharing with you. Pay attention in class. Study the movements and let your body really understand them. Listen to all the advice and steps they give you. Take notes-mental and written. Go back home filled, sopping, and spilling out with so much new skill, info, and inspiration that it renews you passion for performance and elevates your practice and ideas.
2- Get Out of Your Bubble.
Your social bubble, comfort bubble, whatever. Don’t fly across the country just to take classes from instructors you know and can learn from at home. Don’t take classes for skills and styles you’re already excelling in. Try something new or from an instructor you may not have another chance to learn from. Connect with other performers in classes and parties. Regions tend to circulate the same material over and over. Get out of that cycle by seeing new perspectives from performers and instructors from other parts of the world. Learn about what’s happening in other scenes and let that open your mind to help you create something fresh.
3- Don’t Try to Do it All.
You could fill your schedule back to back with amazing classes, round table discussions, and dance parties. You could, but should you? Make time to rest, to step away from the overwhelming amount of people, information, and stimulation coming into your brain. Process the experience in whatever way you need, but realize that may mean scheduling some down time and missing some class or social opportunities. Have a plan, but be flexible with it. Listen to your body and your energy and take care of it. There’s a fine line between pushing yourself to a breakthrough, and pushing yourself to a breakdown.
4- Drink water!
Pack a water bottle in your daily tote. Use it. Refill it every chance you get. Staying hydrated will keep your muscles going during and after a hard class, help your mind stay receptive, give you that morning boost to get going again, and lower your chances of catching Con Crud. Seriously. DRINK ALL THE WATER.
5- Shop Twice.
Make sure to stroll through the vending rooms. At least twice. Visit the tables in the beginning to see what is there and buy the things you’re absolutely in love with. Gorgeous pasties, print booty shorts, vintage gowns, and the like will go quickly and that bodysuit you’ve been eyeing will get snatched up by another performer while you’re debating between that and a night of White Claws. Most of the vendors are performers themselves so you know it will be money well-spent. THEN, on the last day, go through the tables again. Most tables will be running closing discounts and you can get a good deal on something you were afraid to commit to before. If it’s still there.
6- Stock up on Noms.
Do yourself a favor and Uber to a nearby grocery store, like the Trader Joe’s on the other side of the airport, and buy snacks and sandwich stuffs to keep in your hotel room fridge and tote bag. Plan with your roommates to share space and snacks. This will save you money and ensure you always have nourishment on hand.
7- Go to the Panels and Caucuses.
There’s so much to learn by just sitting and listening. Legends, pros, peers- they all bring unique experiences to the table that you can benefit from. Go. Listen. Don’t count out the value of anyone’s voice.
8- See Seattle!
Plan a day or night out on the town. Visit the Fish market, the pier, the legal dispensary, ride the light rail, catch a show, eat cheese curds and clam chowder! Bring shorts AND a winter coat.
9- Forget About Your Name
It’s always nice to be recognized and remembered, but this won’t always happen, especially at BurlyCon, and you need to be okay with that. You will be one out of hundreds of performers not in stage makeup at BurlyCon and at that point it gets hard to know who people are. If someone you met at a show in X city 2 years ago doesn’t recognize you, gracefully reintroduce yourself and politely move on.
10- Give Yourself a High Five!
You’re doing the thing! It’s scary and challenging and you’re fucking doing it! Revel in your newly acquired moves, your hard work, and your dedication to your craft. Celebrate the small victories.
Bonus- Ask the front desk for extra towels. Trust me on this.
~Gemmi Galactic, Frisky Mama