Thursday, 13 June 2013

Secret Confessions of a Burlesque Dancer

It's the day before a really big burlesque show with a dear friend, mentor and amazing person Crystal Precious from Vancouver. As well as the lovely Lizzy La La and drag queen host Tyra Boinks... I have so been looking forward to this show and seeing Crystal. I know tomorrow is going to be fabulous.
I'm incredibly sad and devastated right now. Why? I've been dumped as a friend, by someone i genuinely loved and cherished her friendship. I do believe she did what she felt was best for her... And sometimes you just gottah do what you gottah do, especially when it comes to getting out of life what you need. But what saddens me is she admitted she cannot separate me from Miss La Muse... This means i have been grossly misunderstood, and in a way, i feel like just a projection. It's a cold, lonely feeling.

I got this very heartfelt letter from a friend who used to perform burlesque with me. She really hit every nail on the head, and i couldn't have expressed myself better... I want to share it with you:

"I can only imagine the difficulties that must come along with your talent. I felt backlash about my burlesque involvement and my mark on the community is incredibly minor in comparison to yours so I can only imagine what scrutiny you must deal with. Unfortunately a glamorous lifestyle has a tendency to be not so glamorous, which is so unfortunate because this art form is one of such passion, love and beauty. However it comes at a price because it places a label on the artist. A large part of why I stopped performing wasn't only because of school but also because of my current partner. It isn't something he understands or feels comfortable with me doing, which I feel is a shame and it breaks my heart. However, that combined with the warnings I have had from members of the work community, I decided it's for the best if I back away even though it makes me long to perform everyday. For an artist as talented and passionate as you, I can imagine that pang would be 1000 times stronger. Perhaps I am one of the lucky ones because I met Miss La Muse first, thought she was a fabulous performer, and then I got to meet Angela and realized she's a fabulous person to boot. I don't see Miss La Muse or Angela, I see Miss Angela La Muse because both personalities are you. I know the tassle-twirling tease and I also know the girl who will make me grilled cheese and hunt baby birds with me. I just find it a shame that people can't accept both sides of you because it's both sides of you that I admire. Perhaps I am speaking from a burly girl perspective because I know what it feels like to put on the glam and then take it back off. I also know what it feels like to deal with people not able to accept the other half. I truly believe your talent is a unique and beautiful gift and I am so proud to see how far you have come with it."

It's not an easy path I have chosen to be a professional burlesque dancer. A major problem I'm noticing is that people EXPECT me to be a "diva", because it ties into my burlesque persona. It's not my problem anymore if people want to project that on me. That is their problem. It's very exhausting for me to go through this however, especially when i am genuinely trying to be a supportive person. I'm still a humble gal from Cape Breton Island, who grew up in the woods with hippie parents, a few chickens, pigs and a hole in the ground with a rock slab ontop for a fridge.
Burlesque is my passion, my dream, it fills my life with so much joy and i am driven and motivated to reach my career goals. I've come a long way to get here, and i am very proud of myself. As painful as it is, i don't need anyone else to believe in me but me. Like Marilyn Monroe said "A girl doesn't need anyone who doesn't need her." I am also now reminded of something burlesque legend Tempest Storm explained to me... She said back in the 50's the burlesque community was so catty, sometimes dancers would put itching powder in another dancers bras and panties. She eventually said to hell with everyone and did her own thing. That is the mark of a really strong woman.

A final text i got from my lost friend somehow felt like a backhanded slap... After a long heartfelt letter her only response was:
"Yes, just go be awesome at your shows, it will help you...It's your calling."

I could be totally misreading a message of well-wishing wrong... But today, i find no comfort in this.

I guess I'm damned if i do, damned if i don't at this point... So due to these recent events, I'm just going to focus more on myself and my own performance art. I'm sure i will be accused of being a diva for doing just that.
I will continue to do my workshops and encourage women to believe in themselves and their own power, be supportive of eachother and be anti girl-hate. I'm not really a diva, you see, I just play one on stage.

I welcome other burlesque performers who may be reading this to add their own confessions of what some of the most difficult things you face being a burlesque dancer are.

Miss Angela La Muse
The real me

Miss Angela La Muse, Burlesque Sensation