Burlesque business: quality and diversity to work more and better

Burlesque business: quality and diversity to work more and better
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How to work in burlesque according to Natsumi Scarlett. A lucid reflection on the difficulties of this business and how to face them better.

Let’s face the music: european burlesque seems to be ill. There’s less quality and less originality: a problem that comes from within and that seems a suicide.
The eclectic and award-winning Dutch artist Natsumi Scarlett suggests a proposal on how to emerge from this crisis.

(Go to Italian version)

Natsumi Scarlett
Natsumi Scarlett

It’s a very busy time for me, with lots of offers but just as much cancellations.

I’m in no way surprised that in Europe things are less than the previous two years. It has been an incredibly successful time and of course things had to slow down at some point.

I see it happen in Holland and other countries like i.e. the UK and Italy. We have to compete with girls who work for nearly nothing or free. Obviously there’s a great difference in quality; but in times of economical crisis, most people prefer quantity above quality.

Said that, we must not sit down and feel sorry for ourselves.


The problem
Natsumi Scarlett, aerial artist, Milan Burlesque Award 2012
Natsumi Scarlett aerial artist al Milan Burlesque Award 2012 (ph Agnes Weber)

From my point of view burlesque has become just too commercial. Everywhere performers are popping up who think that some nice lingerie and a cute smile will be enough to call themselves a burlesque dancer. If they look good and can twirl a tassel then that’s all they think there’s to it. For a lot of potential clients this is what they see from burlesque. Beautiful girls who “just” take their clothes off.


Quality above all
Natsumi Scarlett fire breather
Natsumi Scarlett fire breather

We all know there’s a BIG difference between a professional and somebody who copies a look without realizing what she’s actually doing. But potential clients and audience don’t know because they don’t see enough quality.

Meanwhile I’ve also been chatting with a lot of people in the audiences and they too seem to be getting tired of seeing another girl doing the same trick again. Often I hear people say that ‘once you’ve seen one, you have seen all’. And I think that’s exactly where our chances lay to make a difference.

My suggestion is to cut back in the pure burlesque striptease. I admire the girls who can perform a proper striptease and be classic, elegant and tasteful whilst doing it. We all know that’s not where my qualities lay.


Be different, be unique


Natsumi Scarlett, burlesque, ballerina
Natsumi Scarlett inserisce elementi di danza classica nei suoi numeri

If you put on a show with 5 girls (or more) who are all performing the same sort of show, people know what’s going to happen and are not surprised or titillated anymore. But if you put some people in between who do something completely different (even when they’re still performing a striptease!) people are taking by surprise because they didn’t expect this too happen.

Audiences like variety, they want to see different kind of people. Not all girls have to be pretty and classic. Sometimes it works extremely well to put somebody in between who’s not afraid of showing a less appealing, strange or even bizarre side of themselves (just be careful you work with the professional “freaks”, not the real lunatics who have no talent besides acting like an idiot).

Also I think it’s very good to have people in a show that can add an extra to a striptease. A skill that can’t be copied easily. It’s easier for a non-professional to copy somebody who takes her clothes off. But it’s extremely hard to compete with an extra skill. Girls who can work with a hoop or fire, play an instrument, sing or who are acrobats. It takes an awful lot of time and dedication to learn a decent skill. And a lot of people are not willing or simply haven’t got the time or money to develop that extra element. Therefore the people that can, are more unique. Also it’s nice to sometimes watch a girl who doesn’t perform a striptease. And add more men to the show….


Better work, better life
Natsumi Scarlett, burlesque, geisha
Natsumi Scarlett in veste di geisha (ph Peter Diablow)

I think that if we can convince people we have the skills, talent and personalities that can’t be copied or replaced, we are going to stay for the long run.

I hope you understand i’m not trying to put anyone down, I have a lot of respect for the girls who can perform the classics. I can’t because it’s not in my personality! It’d even look ridiculous when I did try. All I’m suggesting to perhaps have performers in the show who do something unexpected, use different kind of music or have different skills.

If this is something that would work, is something that only you can judge.

(Go to Italian version)


Condividi! ❤️
Natsumi Scarlett

Natsumi Scarlett

Natsumi Scarlett è la più famosa, eclettica e affascinante performer olandese. E’ una diva dai diversi talenti, con un solido background formativo; Ballerina professionista ed arista aerial, fire , e circense, sul palco sprigiona un’incredibile energia attraverso tutti gli atti che mette in scena. La potrete vedere camminare sui vetri, mangiare il fuoco, trasformarsi in un’elegante Geisha con ventagli di piume oppure volteggiare a dieci metri d’altezza appesa a drappi di seta. Si è esibita in tutta Europa, da Londra a Istanbul, è appena stata premiata al Milan Burlesque Award 2012, esibendo un numero mozzafiato di aerial silk. E’ anche affermata docente, con una lunga esperienza anche in Italia, dove i suoi masterclass sono sempre tutti esauriti.

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