Acacia is a long-time supporter of FGFS, but this is her first piece for us. She’s your source for all things pop culture and throw-back. Yuli and Acacia had a lot of fun shooting the photos for this piece on the streets of Toronto. Read Acacia’s full bio here and read on to learn a little somethin’-somethin’ about being a big ol’ burlesque performer.
When you attend a burlesque show one of the fantastic things you will encounter is the variety of the shapes and sizes of the performers who get on stage before you. Here’s where having confidence can play a big part in the performance side of things.
On Thursday, August 15th, I will be giving my burlesque debut dressed as Miss Piggy under the stage name: ‘Taco Belle’. There will be exercise, cake and there will be boobs!
photos by yuli scheidt
Although this may be my burlesque debut, I have been a member of the community since 2008. You might ask yourself why it has taken me so long to bare it all on stage. For me, the hard part surprisingly was not showing off physically but my abilities in terms of dancing and coming up with the right routine. Over the years, I not only attended shows but worked them (as a stage kitten) and befriended many other performers in the community. I always came up with ideas and thought, “Wouldn’t it be neat to see someone strip to…”, but never really did anything about it. Well, after all this time: I came up with a routine (that no one else could perform) and thought it was my own time to shine.
As most of fat girls do at some point, we struggle with our appearances. I feel like that goes for all girls: big or small. I’ve been up and down and every size in between my entire life but always on the larger side for my adulthood. What I’ve learned is the sexiest part about anyone is their confidence level. The better I feel about myself, the better I present myself. Lately I’ve felt great and in-turn, I feel like I’ve been looking great too!
One struggle I’ve had in getting ready for my burlesque performance is that people have approached me about how glad they are that I am “making a statement with my body” or that I’m “challenging the norm” of what the audience is expecting to see. Now I know this is all meant with good intentions but I want to set the record straight: I AM NOT DOING BURLESQUE BECAUSE I AM FAT. I AM DOING BURLESQUE BECAUSE I WANT TO AND BECAUSE I CAN. I just so happen to also be fat. Honestly, I don’t think the audience has a specific thought in mind in terms of what they are going to see, and if they happen to be expecting someone smaller then I will surprise them and entertain them with all my extra glorious inches.
To make this all happen, I forced myself to stick to performing and gave myself a deadline date to be ready for. I got in touch with my good friend Mysterion the Mind Reader of Great Canadian Burlesque and asked for him to put me on the bill for a monthly showcase for up and coming performers. I have been working my tush off to be ready in time and it’s coming down to the wire. I’ve been putting the finishing touches to have it ready in time. I’m going to be nervous but that’s regular stage jitters. Thankfully, the scariest thing I will have to do is show my body to a room full of strangers. NO BIG DEAL, RIGHT? My hope is that it’s as empowering a feeling as I anticipate.
Let me give you a look into what I believe you need to give a stellar burlesque performance should you want to try your hand at it:
1) A body.
It doesn’t matter the shape or size of your body or the gender. There are many boylesque dancers out there, so it’s not just about the tits, although it might be in my case.
2) An idea.
Pick a routine that you think would be fun, whatever speaks to you the most. In my case I picked Miss Piggy who is one of my idols, and my other idol: snacks! Since the show is happening around my birthday I have decided that my snack of choice will be cake.
Pick a song and voila! Some base their routines off a specific song, I just picked ones that worked with my idea.
4) A costume.
You can wear whatever you want, the more interesting the pieces the more interesting the reveal. You could start naked if you wanted but I feel like that would achieve a very different effect. I have sourced my pieces from a few different places since I am not too crafty myself. Brook Alviano has created my costume pieces, and my pasties are from the lovely Tanya Cheex and Aviva Rosnick of Cheex Mirage.
You can teach yourself or you can get help from someone who has experience, just make sure to move around the stage! I’ve decided to go the help route and have been getting help work shopping my routine from the lovely Coco Framboise.
Whether it’s on your costume, in your hand or in your personality make sure to sparkle and shine somewhere! (It’s a showgirl must!)
No one in the crowd is going to know anything is going wrong as long as you just go for it! You are the only one who knows your routine, so create it in a way that best helps you to shine. I go the funny and slightly offensive route since I feel that dancing isn’t my strong point.
All everyone has to remember is ANYONE can do it. I have no qualifications whatsoever apart from wanting to do it. If you feel like seeing this Fat Girl get nude (on her birthday, no less), then come and cheer me on. Click here for event details.