Burlesque 101: Q & A with an expert

burlesque_book.jpgSaucy Brit Emily Dubberley is a Daily Bedpost fave (who can drink both of us under the table). Her latest book, Ultimate Burlesque, is steamy, instructional, and it's raising money for breast cancer. Plus, this prolific sex writer once performed a burlesque in honor of her Rabbit vibrator. Don't you wanna be her best friend?

What is burlesque, and how does it differ from striptease?
Burlesque means parody, it doesn't have to involve nudity, and it's performed by women of all shapes and sizes. However, it often does involve removal of clothes, so "striptease with a sense of humor" is probably the best description.

Have you ever performed a burlesque?
Yes, for a magazine article. I danced to "At Last" by Phoebe Snow--my act was a love song to my Jessica Rabbit vibrator, as the opening line of the song is, "At last my true love has come along" (you had to be there!). Having done a striptease in front of 500 people, despite my cellulite and general lack of dancing ability, I know from personal experience that it's a kick hearing people cheer as you disrobe: sexiness is about attitude, not physical perfection.

Why do you think burlesque has become so popular again in the past few years--what's the appeal?
It's good old-fashioned glamour, cheekiness and fun, helping every woman discover her inner diva--and of course, Dita Von Teese has certainly helped popularize it.

Apparently there's a formula for being a total fox, and Dita Von Teese has figured it out. The professional temptress gives us the not-so-subtle answer in this video.

This book is part of a larger fundraiser, Burlesque Against Breast Cancer, right?
Yes, I created Burlesque Against Breast Cancer after my mom got breast cancer at the end of last year and Macmillan Cancer Support really helped her. I wanted to give something back, so I decided to get my burlesque and media friends together to raise funds. We've had the book; a midnight cinema screening of Moulin Rouge complete with can-can girls; and a grand ball, featuring burlesque and cabaret artists who've performed with Madonna, Mick Jagger, and Snoop Dog. We've so far raised about £10,000.

A lot of women hate the idea of a striptease because they don't feel good about their body--but your idea is that burlesque should help a woman feel good about her body, right? How does this work?
By owning your sexuality and not being afraid to display your body, wobbly bits and all, you can boost your ego.

What do you think about strip clubs? Harmless or heinous?

How might an average couple experiment with burlesque together? Do you have to take a class, or is it something you can just play around with on your own?
I'd definitely recommend you both take classes--men can do burlesque too, it's a unisex term. Once you've learned a few basics like removing a bra one-handed and taking your gloves or stockings off sexily, you can always freestyle.

We'd so love to see a male burlesque!
Everyone should see a man twirling tassels on his bum at least once in their life! Mat Fraser's "armless" strip is one of the best burlesque acts I've ever seen a guy do--he performs in the U.S. fairly regularly so watch out for him there.

What's your favorite thing about burlesque?
That it doesn't matter what size or shape you are and that it's so glamorous: a good burlesque night feels like stepping back in time to when women were ladies and men were gentlemen: not to mention, the clothes are gorgeous!

Find out more at the Burlesque Against Breast Cancer site.

MORE FROM EM & LO ANDGLAMOUR: