BurlyCon 2020: Classes

Dear Constant Reader,

What was it like taking classes at BurlyCon this year? We had three options: on-demand classes which were available at any time, live classes via Zoom or Google Meet where you could interact with the instructors, and recorded classes, which are recorded versions of the live classes, which could be watched at your leisure.

I tried to take as many classes live as I could and here’s a short synopsis. This is over the span of two weeks and there were whole days I went without taking a single class, mostly because the scheduling didn’t work out for me. If the title of the class is a link, you can take the recorded class for $20 until the end of the month (and the instructor will get $15 of that).

You Down with MSP? (Shimmy LaRoux): This was part of the Master track, which as I mentioned previously is for seasoned performers and had an application process. MSP stands for “Minimal Stage-ready Product” and the class is about using a similar technique for creating an act as bringing a product to market. It’s an on-going process of questioning and refinement.

Blues Burlesque (Zelia Rose) If we hadn’t been doing this virtually, it would have been impossible to take a dance class with Zelia Rose, who is in Australia. I set up in Albert’s room, with my laptop broadcasting to the TV and my webcam broadcasting me. Albert was completely uninterested in all this and snoozed the entire time. I discovered, as I lost the connection to Zoom multiple times, that the most convenient place to set my laptop is also a mysterious Wifi deadspot. How annoying. But my tech woes are unimportant. The class was about improvisational blue dances, with three base steps and variations on them.

Best Face Forward (Zelia Rose): This was a BurlyLab, a limited enrollment, hands-on class. It also started at 9:45pm, my time. It’s been many months since I found myself in a full face of makeup at midnight. She had a few useful tips I’ll probably incorporate and it’s just nice to shake things up with a different makeup style.

Pleasure and the Art of the Eyefuck (Jo Weldon): This is not a skill that comes naturally or easily to me and I was looking forward to learning from a master. I was wondering how well this would work virtually and the answer was VERY well. I could see Jo’s face, especially her eyes, much better than in a traditional classroom.

Cohesive Costume Design (Christina Manuge): I have to be honest; I was a little disappointed in this class. I think Christina was too. We watched her three excellent videos on costume design, but that was really all we had time for. I wish there had been more time for discussion. Still, I came away with one new nugget of information.

Fantastic! Advanced Fan Dancing (Coco Lectric): I should have taken the time to set up in Albert’s room, like I did for Blues Burlesque. Instead I thought it would be fine in my sewing room, forgetting completely that I now have a ceiling fan in there. Ooops.

Rhinestone & Embellishments (Frankie Fictitious): Frankie’s costumes are so beautiful and I knew I could learn some new ideas from her. I think I’ll also watch her BurlyLab and see if there’s anything else she covers there.

Illusions of Glamour: The Costumes of Burlesque (Rosey La Rouge): Rosey wrote The Book on the history of burlesque costumes (and I really ought to review it soon). Her presentation was a quick and well illustrated run through that history, plus a little bit about her experience creating the book. Very inspirational.

Closing in on the Reveal: Your Key to Better Burly Closures (Christina Manuge): This was an Intensive class with limited enrollment and I’m lucky to have gotten in because I decided to take it at the last minute. There was a series of videos to watch in advance and the class was a Q & A about them. I had seen them on Christina’s Patreon (if you make burlesque costumes, you really ought to join), so my last minute decision didn’t leave me behind. How wonderful to be able to ask questions “in person” of someone so skilled!

Fundamentals of Online Education – Adapting & Empowering (Robyn Swing): What a great way to close out BurlyCon! Not only did this class give me great ideas for continuing to teach on-line, it also showed me a new way to think about teaching in general. I’m definitely making time for a rewatch before it disappears.

So that’s 10 classes over two weeks (and I taught 2), which is exactly the same as last year, although packed into four in-person days. At least I’m consistent!

I also attended three social events. There were two dances, although I just relaxed and listened to the excellent music. During the first one, we played a party game for a bit; it was fun to connect with people for a while.  Albert stole the show during the second one just by lounging with me. I meant to attend the Jewlesquers’ Shabbat, but there were some tech issues. I also joined in the last minute Teaching the Tease caucus for teachers — thank you Saffron St. james for organizing! It was so great to connect with fellow educators and discover many of us had similar issues and challenges. I felt a little less alone after that.

I’m not including the classes I took (and am continuing to take) via recording. That may become a post of its own. I also didn’t include the classes I taught because those get their own post. Stay tuned!

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