Musings

Check your rituals at the door…

By February 25, 2020 No Comments
Mae de la Rue wears burlesque costume and Golden Legends Tiara and Sash

It’s competition season… Chuck your rituals out!

OK, actually, you’re totally welcome to have your rituals and they DO have a place, BUT, I wanted to tell you about an experience I had last year.

Some of you might be aware that I spent 6 months last year being mentored by the amazing Canadian Burlesque Legend, Judith Stein, in preparation to compete in the Golden Legend Champion Challenge.

Now, I have been in a few burlesque competitions in my 8 years of performing, I’ve even won a few! But the majority of them I haven’t won, nor placed, and in the past that’s been detrimental to my state of mind, but I continue to work through my own feedback processing and personal growth.

I’ve often had a series of things I have to do on the day of the competition. I always avoided any extra stuff not directly linked to preparation for the big day, fearing it would leave me unprepared or not focused enough. At GLCC, there are three nights of competition – and workshops on two of the days. It’s HUGE and as a competitor, you could be performing on any of those nights. And there are pro’s and con’s to performing on any of the nights. I was on the final night.

Well, when you fly halfway around the world to compete in a foreign country in front a room full of people you’ve only met days before, and in front of ACTUAL legends of burlesque, on an act you’ve not shown anyone until the debut at the competition – why not throw all of your usual go-to plans out the window?

And you know what, it was the best decision I could have made.

No last minute run throughs – I think I may have mentally stepped through my act in the morning as I checked I had all my gear, but no rehearsals nor thinking about the competition. Why?

Well, when you fly half way around the world, you don’t want to miss out on any opportunities! Plus, you should be prepared and confident in yourself, enough that you can do something for yourself instead. When you have access to amazing headlining artists and Legends and they are offering workshops, take those opportunities with both hands!

Over the two days, I took part in a number of workshops. Leaping at the chance, I took reigning Golden Legends Champion 2018 Rebel Vital’s Contemporary Dance in Burlesque which was challenging in it’s physicality, but unifying in our collective challenges!

I took Sweetpea’s workshop focusing on Working your Woo which provided some amazing, profound ideas and techniques to apply or add to my practice – including on show day preparations, different to my ‘usual’.

Of course I took the workshop with my mentoring legend, Judith Stein, which focused on some amazing ways to connect, really connect with yourself, your body, and your audience – holy shit was that some powerful stuff!

But probably the highlight, and my own personal biggest challenge was taking the workshop with Trina Parks assisted by Egypt Black Knyle on the ‘Katherine Dunham Technique’. It’s a style I was taken with and was keen to try. My biggest challenge was my knees which eventually protested enough that I stepped out to watch the remainder rather than potentially injure myself. But it was a physically demanding yet exhilarating class.

And it was the workshop immediately before our tech time. I had hesitated in taking both a workshop in and of itself, and then such a physical class right before performing, but I think it actually had the opposite effect than I expected.

I was more connected with and confident in my body and its abilities than I anticipated. And I felt ALIVE.

The morning of performance day I had used techniques from Sweetpea’s class, and right before I went on I used yet another of her techniques. I drew upon the sensation and headspace I learned in Judith’s class, and I had strength and confidence in my body that was just jumping with energy started in Rebel’s class, and electrified by Trina’s class.

During my performance, which is a slow and sensual act, I heard audience responses I hadn’t anticipated, I saw eyes in the audience and felt meaningful connections with their owners, I heard people calling out and gasping in places I didn’t expect, and afterwards I had so many authentic compliments both from fellow Proteges, and from other Mentors making enthusiastic exclamations about my act, that I was elated no matter what the outcome.

OK, I wanted to win but I knew it was going to be a tough competition and unlikely in such an amazing line up of performers, so I wasn’t pinning hopes on it!

But I was awarded the title The Golden Stripper.

And that’s definitely something to be proud of.

So, if you’ve got a competition, or an important performance coming up, consider changing up your ‘routine’ – try any opportunities to move your body in a new or challenging (but safe) way, connect with your own self differently, or just give yourself the space to be confident in the work and dedication you’ve put towards the act and goal.

Give yourself permission to do something for you on your big day, and see how it might set you on a better performance path.

Leave a Reply