I Am Proud of My Size: The Burlesque Edition (Mildly NSFW)

I happened to be poking around my hard drive this past week when I came across a set of photos and a video taken at a burlesque show I performed…. which was… back in February according to the time stamp on these. It was the last time I did a new act and I’m pretty sure the last show I did was in March. Clearly, Roxy Bourbon needs a swift kick in the ass and to get back into the swing of things.

Photo Credit: Samuel Herbig

I always loved the artistic expression that one can achieve through dance and I absolutely loved dancing as a little girl but as I hit puberty, it was pretty obvious that my body wasn’t exactly the stereotypical body type that a successful dancer has. I was top heavy! As I entered into high school, my love of dance got overridden by my self-consciousness about my body and I ended up dropping it as an after school activity.

Photo Credit: Samuel Herbig

I rediscovered by love of dance when I started taking classes at now closed pole dancing school in Manchester, New Hampshire called Pole Bliss. I took a session of their offerings in pole dancing and ballet, and a half a session of burlesque and then made the crazy decision to pack up and move to New York City (for completely unrelated reasons).

I had decided that pole dancing wasn’t for me… It requires upper body strength that I just don’t have, and well… to be honest, the huge rack tended to get in the way when I was doing certain kinds of spins but that half a session of burlesque had my interest piqued.

Photo Credit: Samuel Herbig

I found the New York School of Burlesque via Google and signed up for their mailing list and fantasized about taking classes for well over a year. I didn’t have the extra spending money for classes when I first moved here, nor the the bravery. When I did finally work up the nerve and have the cash, I ended up dropping out after one class because the location got moved and I somehow didn’t get the email about it in time.

In the Summer of 2011, I ended up really going for it… the NYSB was putting on a burlesque master class course at the Coney Island Sideshow School, so I signed up and hauled my butt to the far end of the F train for six weeks and made my burlesque debut in August as Roxy Bourbon.

Photo Credit: Samuel Herbig

It’s been an interesting journey. Things that I thought would be emotionally problematic for me, like feeling self-conscious about my size ended up being hardly a blip on the radar thanks to how supportive and embracing the New York City burlesque community is… Here, it doesn’t matter what size you are… Everyone is beautiful.

I never had a problem with being afraid to step out on stage and smile and dance and strip down to my panties and pasties. I found myself unfazed at the prospect of baring all.

The things that I have trouble with were trying to figure out all the girly costuming things… Pulling together an outfit that pulls off the look and is still easy to remove is something that eludes me almost every routine that I come up with. Figuring out the right makeup gives me the willies… and false eyelashes? I still haven’t figured out how to put those on. Undoubtedly, my insecurities around my costuming abilities are what hold me back from doing this far more.

Photo Credit: Samuel Herbig

And now… the performance. I apologize for the fact that the video turns sideways halfway through. I think Anna accidentally turned the camera on it’s side… which is irritatingly easy to do with my camera.

6 thoughts on “I Am Proud of My Size: The Burlesque Edition (Mildly NSFW)

  1. Wow, I applaud you for this post! I have a similar body type and would love to do the exact same thing. I’ve always been enamored of burlesque dancers but never thought I could be involved because of my size. Very inspirational!

  2. Nikkiana! This is an awesome post! Daring and truly inspirational. I love burlesque shows. I’ve only been to one in New York, though, in Coney Island. I would love to check your performance if you do another one in NY. Power to you, girl!

  3. Excellent Post! While I have had a few burlesque lessons (I am a terrible dancer!) I still don’t quite have the confidence to do something like that. Well done!

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