Your Favorite Teacher: The Process

Solo debut: NEW! Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at Red Hots Burlesque at Supperclub, 657 Harrison St. Seating at 7 p.m.; show at 7:30 p.m.; $10; FB invite here.
Ok, so I missed blogging about process last week…that’s what happens when jobby-jobs get the best of you. BUT, that connects well with this post, because my jobby-job is as a teacher (like, fer reals), and this week – in my final appearance as the Red Hots Burlesque June featured performer (waaaahhh!) – I’m debuting a number called “Your Favorite Teacher.” Yeah, you know…that one.
I actually thought this solo would be my very first one, two years ago. Like a good little burlesque student, I read Jo Boobs’ “The Burlesque Handbook,” pouring over every piece of advice. I thought I’d found the perfect piece of music – two contrasting songs from the same literary-based film soundtrack – and a cute (if perhaps well-traversed) theme: the foxy teacher.
Only one little thing kept me from being able to bring the piece to fruition – the ending of the music. It was one of those fade-out deals that I couldn’t edit into giving me a BAM-POWhere-are-my-boobs ending. (And didn’t Jo say that was preferable? Yes, she did. And she’s totally right. Preferable, but not written in stone.) Nothing really changed much to make me decide to go forward with the piece, except that now I’ve seen many performers with the fade-out ending and I’ve realized, hey, whatevs. You make it work. Which is what I’m doing.
My costume-in-progress for my Teacher number.
And of course, now that this beauty that’s been in my head for two years is coming out and I’ve got a real-live body in real-live costumes, it’s morphing into something new because it has to. And hopefully something better. The thing is, I never know when I’m done. That’s it; that’s what’s on my mind:

When are you done with a piece of art?
Just prior to almost every debut I’ve ever had, I always start thinking, “If only I had, like, another week to <insert wish here: have a few more dollars to bling out the costume, more time for choreography tweaking, test out this costume piece versus that costume piece>”… but sometimes more tweaking can only be worked out after being onstage, after realizing that ooh, that one part right there? The audience totally dug that! How can I heighten that? Or, ooh, that part can be improved…how can I connect with the audience more here? If “writing is rewriting,” then dancing is re-dancing, and maybe any art is re-arting. (Yeah, that’s right. Re-arting.)
But when is it done?
I had a writing teacher who told me once that “a piece of writing is never finished, it’s just abandoned…hopefully between the covers of a book.” That’s kind of a bleak way to look at it, but I feel like the core of it – that “completing” a work of art is subjective and hard to measure – carries a certain truth.
Whaddyou think?

Published by adalavender

Burlesque dancer. Showgirl. Poet. Both lover and fighter.

One thought on “Your Favorite Teacher: The Process

  1. I was reading a performers blog when I was first starting out in Burlesque and she was writing about Burlesque on a budget. She said although its fun to come out with brand new acts all the time, sometimes its better to keep the few acts you do have constantly evolving. I have really taken that to heart. Several of my acts I rarely change, but I still don't consider them complete, they are just done FOR NOW. As for deciding when an act is ready to meet the world, it really varies. A lot of my acts have come out of special requests or a need to fit a theme, so usually time is my deciding factor. But this past weekend, I finally brought to the stage an act that has been stewing in my mind for almost a year now. It was my first official take on comedy burlesque, and I was terrified that I would be the only person who would think it was funny, and that the audience might just be staring up at me with jaws dropped in horror. But I kept listening to the song, and dancing around the room, and finally I gave in. Now that I have done it once, Its ready to begin its evolution process and setting it before a crowd really helps me determine what needs to happen. I also like the idea of evolving acts because a lot of the time, we have a lot of the same folks in the crowd at different shows. I like to think that someone might see me do the same act twice, but every time its a little different and fresh for them.

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