Seriously, is there anything more gorgeously glamorous than burlesque?
For the vintage virgins among you not in the know, burlesque is a type of sexy dance hall performance laced with satire, fused with sizzling 1920s vogue, sprinkled with tongue-in-cheek pizzazz and is, most importantly, a truly confidence boosting celebration of the beautiful female form.
Of all the things that tend to be associated with Cornwall, seductive dancing doesn’t pop up too often, and in fact the Boutique Retreat ladies didn’t believe me when I said I’d found a burlesque school at all. Obviously, I had to book up a lesson and check it out. Steeldivas is actually primarily a pole dancing school. Classes are run by the beautiful Marjan (pronounced Marianne) – one saucy ingredient of the burlesque act ‘Flippin’ Knickers’ and, as you’d expect, a lady who really knows how to strut her stuff – in Truro, Falmouth and Camborne; plenty of opportunities to get sexy, learn some moves and bring down the house… or at least the bedroom if you’re looking to work some showgirl magic on your other half.
The goal was to have my own routine nailed by the end of the lesson, and Marjan had instructed me to come prepared in any erotic ensemble I fancied. So, corset-clad and sporting some lavish sequin shorts with matching sequin bra, we progress from a basic warm-up, don some monster heels (seriously, Marjan’s were like walking with Canary Wharf strapped to your feet) and dive straight into different poses that reminded me irresistibly of Betty Boop, accompanied by facial expressions that ranged from alluring to adorable to downright cheeky.
Classically, burlesque dancers are associated with stripping. Marjan’s classes, however, are no legs-open-tits-out Hurly Burly show. In the words of West End Burlesque Queen, Miss Polly Rae: “It’s not about the sex darling. It’s about the shimmy and the shoes.” The focus here is learning the racy moves and the artistic way to shed boas and gloves (both supplied for the lesson), and in the dance studio that’s the limit – there’s no pressure, no body worries, just fun and giggles. Again, I don’t think for a second that the boys back home will mind you indulging in a little costume removal in the comfort of your Cornish boudoir. Now THAT’S a holiday he’ll remember!
After an hour of learning hip pops, bumps, grinds and even doing something to a glove that rhymes with “banking” before it was entirely unwrapped from my arm, I take centre stage and perform a burlesque dance of my very own completely unassisted. Well, mostly unassisted. I put Marjan’s helpful directive yells down to my sieve memory.
I know you’re curious now… so here’s the fine deets. Hen night bookings with Steeldivas are hugely popular at £20 per person (also applicable for birthdays, girls’ nights, divorce…), six-week courses run throughout the year for a surprisingly small total of £45 or, to get a seriously personal dance down to a tee, book individual lessons for £10 per hour. For the boys, having had a sneaky peek at all this burlesque babe business, how about buying the lady in your life a lesson or two? I’m sure you can see how everyone gets to benefit.
Go on, you know to want to …