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When the movie Burlesque came out with Cher and Christina Aguilera, I couldn't stop watching. I was transfixed by the music, the flawless makeup, and the glittering costumes. However, I was raised in a religious home and to me it all seemed so inappropriate and taboo. But I couldn't stop watching it!
Finally, years later, after starting a journey of self growth and love (joining a gym, eating better, making choices for myself, pierced my nose, dyed my hair, got a tattoo, and started loving myself) I found a class in LA called Empowerment In Heels. I was drawn in instantly. This isn't a shady, inappropriate, dirty dancing class, but instead a place of acceptance and self love. The teacher (international burlesque dancer) Miss Marquez describes the class as: "Burlesque Classes Designed for EMPOWERMENT. A Safe Space for Bodies of all Sizes, Gender, and Skill levels to experience the Power and Beauty of Burlesque." And she achieves that and more!
Starting this class changed my life in so many ways, from owning my oppressed sexuality, to confidence in myself and who I am.
Here is what to expect: first off heels are NOT required. Though the name seems as if it would be, what is important is safety and confidence so if you're more confident barefoot or in flats then by all means wear those! Same goes for dressing. My first class, I wore workout pants and a t-shirt. Now that I'm out of my shell and love my body I wear lingerie, corsets, and more (or lack there of). We start class with a warm up and stretch of the body before moving on to improv exercises helping you find your style, and finish off class with a little choreographed routine followed by improv.
After starting this class, I was hooked. I found a place filled with so much love and support. For the first time in my life, I experienced an hour where I wore very little clothes in front of strangers and didn't feel insecure or wonder what they thought of me for one second! I felt beautiful and sexy, and I was hooked.
I recently had the opportunity to make my burlesque debut in a a show at Three Clubs in LA. At first it was the scariest thing I have ever tried to do, but in the end it was the best night of my life and the best experience. Right before my song started, I was shaking with fear not knowing what to expect when I came out of the curtain to a packed club, all eyes on me. Suddenly, the music started and I had no choice but to dance. As soon as I stepped on that stage, everything changed. I was beautiful, sexy, in control, and all eyes were on me. I had all the power. I knew what moves to do to get a reaction out of them, I knew the right things to take off to be a tease, and I had them eating out of my hands. I was empowered. The venue of people was different as well. That's what makes burlesque different from a strip club. I always break it down for people by saying strip clubs are for the audience, people go to those shows to seek pleasure and joy from the performances. Burlesque is about the performer. The dancer dances for her/himself, takes off clothes for them self, and the audience cheers not from pleasure but in support for the performer. What we do is the most raw and vulnerable a person can be. That is terrifying. But once you find yourself and do it in a supportive artistic environment, you become so confident and empowered. I truly found myself!
These pics are from my debut show, and it's only going to get better! I'm pushing myself as a dancer and artist. And I have a big show coming up in LA in October!
If you're in LA and want more info about Empowerment in Heels, follow this link: The Miss Marquez. Hope to see you there!
Until then, follow my journey and see my burlesque on Instagram at @kyrstashae.
Kyrsta Shae's Burlesque Debut at Three Clubs LA
Costume rhinestoned by Kyrsta, corset from Orchards Closet, and garter belt/thigh highs/bra from What Katie Did.