Expo: The Conference

Dear Constant Reader,

One of the wonderful thing about The Expo is The Conference, ably coordinated by Scandal from Bohemia and before her, Betty Blaize. It has developed into 4 tracks of classes over 2 days: movement classes, lectures, hand-on workshops, and panels. All sort of topics are covered from fan dancing and shimmies to taxes and contracts.

Despite having gone to bed quite late the night before, I was up bright and early Saturday morning to join my fellow Babydolls for the first class.

Boston Babydoll Boot Camp (Evie Sphinx): Evie regularly tortures us for 10 or 15 minutes at rehearsals. This was an entire hour of calisthenics. We did fast footwork across the floor. We did squats, pushups, dips, planks. I don’t even remember what all we did, but I was exhausted and sweating.

Stripteasing in Panel Skirts (Toni Elling): Miss Elling is a master of working with panels and she brought some from her collection for us to try out. Now I need to make some half-circle chiffon panel skirts…

Maximizing the Power of Hands and Gloves (Joe Paul Williams): This entire class focused on the movement of the hands, wrists, and forearms. We learned the relationship of the parts of the hand to other parts of the body, the symbolism, and mind-body-spirit connection. We never put on a single glove and yet I feel my glove removes are forever changed for the better.

Power in Silence (Paco Fish): By silence, Paco meant the silence of the body — stillness. I remind other dancers (and myself) to embrace the power of the pause and this class brought that home again and again.

Elements of Staging for Classic Burlesque Group Work (Joe Paul Williams): Using simple shapes on the stage, we created a Follies style group number in no time at all. We also explored the differing power of serial, parallel, and oppositional movement. I noticed, again, how much Joe’s teachings have influenced Betty and that it was reflected in our most recent choreography.

Stalking the Stocking (Jo Weldon): I always enjoy Jo’s classes, but I was hoping to pick up some tips for Your Lovely Legs! The class was, no surprise, both fun and informative. The high point may have been Mimi Mischief’s stockings trying to make her go down to the basement.

And that was Saturday.

Sunday morning, I skipped Betty’s Boot Camp to be prepared for my class.

Homemade Beauty (me): I’m pretty fanatical about my skin care (see my drawer full of Xerion Skin Science products sometime), but I also like making stuff myself and saving money. In this class we made a face scrub, a foot scrub, and bath fizz (like a bath bomb, only not compressed into a ball) with ingredients you can mostly get at your average supermarket. I may run it again at B.A.B.E.

Fan-Task-Tickle! (Bobby Barnaby): On the care and feeding of fans: how to make them, store them, mend them, transport them. Happily, Bobby prefers bamboo stave fans, like me.

FANatics Anonymous (Bobby Barnaby): An actual fan dance class. Always fun to play with my fans. Bobby uses the other grip, so it was occasionally challenging to translate the moves.

Drop-in Class (me): B.A.B.E. runs these all weekend for people who have only come for the Exhibit Hall and shows. They’re very basic introductory classes. The rest of the instructors were off in Dahlia Fatale’s Fosse jazz class.

I allowed myself a lot of down time this year. By which I mean that out of 16 class periods, I was doing something class related for only 11 of them. I regret skipping Blitzen von Schtupp’s Tantalizing Shimmies and Italian Burlesque: Sophia Lauren Style with Sophie Champagne, but I had to conserve my strength and brainpower at least a little.

Here’s a little picture of me and Toni Elling in her panel skirt class: She’s graciously allowed me to wear one of her skirts. I look a tad disheveled, and I’m going to put the blame on Evie and her calisthenics and not for my inability to look in a mirror.


Published in: on 10 April 2013 at 12:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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