Last Tuesday in the basement of Bona Sera, Ypsilanti, local burlesque star Luna Legare taught me a thing or two about stripping in public. Sure, there were shimmery gloves, sparkly costumes, and dance music, but lessons of the new burlesque are more focused on the power of directing attention with a look and a smile and about being in control of what and when you chose to reveal.
At the “Tuesday Tease with Luna Legare,” beginners and novices mixed with experienced dancers like Cruel Valentine, Kitt Y. Bourree, and Felina Mistemper. I purchased a pair of classic black evening gloves, which were stretchy and sexy and fun to wear, and helped me look the part.
We limbered up with some stretches, much like any other exercise class, although with an emphasis on graceful movement. Then Luna led us through some basic showgirl poses, which are a bit like ballet positions. Luna also demonstrated the many alluring methods to take off gloves. The classic one-finger-at-a-time technique, then supplemented with a spread hand builds tension and excitement, but there are other options. Teeth can be used to bite the tips, but bare them to prevent lipstick stains. As we became acquainted with a few simple steps, Luna played tracks to get everyone in the mood.
After practicing our dance moves, we watched some more experienced performers. Luna and a couple students from Ann Arbor Aviary (where Ms Legare regularly teaches 7 week long burlesque classes) rehearsed the routine they will perform at next Saturday’s showcase event. We also had a chance to watch a dancer do a try-out performance for a burlesque competition which was taped for submission to the show.
This was the second low-stakes, drop-in class that Ms Legare has taught at Bona Sera, and future events are scheduled for the second Tuesday of the coming months. I was a little nervous to start, but the class had a good sense of camaraderie and friendliness. Burlesque has a body-positive, gay-positive, woman-positive vibe, and I felt very welcome. I thanked Luna as I left, and she said she hoped I’d come back next time and to bring a few girlfriends. If you are interested, let me know. And don’t forget your gloves.