There’s no denying that I’m a huge fan of burlesque and I have to say Berlin has one of the best circuits for it. So, I was wonderfully surprised when the headmistress, La Viola Vixen invited me to her school, Shimmy Shake Berlin, to take a class.
After weeks of watching YouTube videos and swotting up on all things Burlesque, I was ready to go. I attended the narrative development class led by Australian born Diamond Dahlia, whom I’d seen perform a number of times. The atmosphere was friendly and relaxed and we began with warming up and stretches, it was 2 degrees outside after all.
I’ve become insanely unfit whilst living in Berlin
I won’t lie that I’ve become insanely unfit whilst living in Berlin and I blame all the beer, pork and bread. So it came as a slight shock to my system to be doing core work again. However, the dancer that’s been hidden away inside of me for the past two years was elated that I was once again in the dance studio.
After all the ladies were suitably warmed up, DD led us through the Burlesque staples, grinds, bumps, shimmies and barrel rolls. DD had such finesse and poise throughout, but I guess that’s what happens after you’ve dedicated 9 years of your life to the art of the tease. Once we were all comfortable with all these moves we began learning what would be the beginning of the dance routine that was to be learnt over the 6 weeks and performed at the Christmas show at the end.
Her time was split fairly and her patience commendable
I won’t tell you what the story was as I don’t want to ruin the show. But, I will say this: “Follow The Yellow Brick Road”. DD supported all members of the group equally, from non-dancers to first timers, her time was split fairly and her patience commendable.
The class finished with a warm down and solid foundation of the first 32 bars of the dance had been laid. Each lady was then asked to think of narrative ideas of their own. A way in which to develop their own burlesque persona through the art of storytelling and dance.
‘You Gotta Get A Gimmick’
It’s important in Burlesque to have an angle, after all, ‘You Gotta Get A Gimmick’. So, we left with our heads buzzing with ideas and possibilities. Trying to think of ways costume and a catalyst prop would signal to the audience that we’re about to take out clothes off!
I had a marvellous time at the class and would have loved it to be a little longer, plus I’ve got my ideas ready to go. But I will say that my thighs bloody hurt the next day after all that grinding. I would advise anyone who’s looking for something different to do it, be it for health reasons, confidence or to meet friends and you won’t meet nicer girls than in the burlesque community. And Shimmy Shake welcome everyone from all walks of life.
Get down there and shake what momma gave you
If you’re more of an observer however, there shall be the Shimmy Shake Christmas Extravaganza, where you shall get to see the school’s graduates alongside the Berlin seasoned pros.
Check out one of Diamond’s performances below to wet your appetite: