There are lines that are very difficult to cross. One of those is performing – many people have difficulty getting onstage and being in front of a crowd. For some, it can even mean getting in front of a class and giving a presentation. So, here at Tufts, what do we do?
We strip, shake our booties, and bare (almost) completely naked, touch each other, and dance our hearts out with as part of the Tufts Burlesque Troupe. With 275 spots for dancers this year, and them all filling up in under fifteen minutes, Burlesque is a popular pastime of the people. I myself have just joined my first burlesque dance, and we have had a total of one rehearsal. The rehearsal considered of bonding and getting to know each other. The choreographers of my dance thought it was necessary for the group to at least know each other’s names and what we did this past summer before we started dancing intimately together.
A noble thought, to be sure, but is that enough for me, or anyone, (but more importantly me), to throw my thighs around onstage? I have performed before. I have spent time onstage as an actor. But memorizing lines, putting on costumes, stage make-up, and using props lets you hide. You can create a character to be. With Burlesque, it is quite the opposite: You take off costumes, take off clothes, and the only props and stage makeup you use is to enhance what is being shown. In a surface sense, the absolute opposite of acting.
But that’s not what Burlesque is about. It’s about body positivity. It’s about celebration. It’s about letting everything go. It’s about taking off the costume that we wear everywhere we go. It’s about wiping off the makeup of our and society’s expectations. It’s about removing everything we could hide behind and celebrating the passion, the whole-heartedness, and the absolute joy that comes from it.
With Burlesque, you go in, and everyone is ready to support. Everyone is ready to be with you every step of the way. Everyone is together. And if that’s not the real meaning of being human, I don’t know what is.