A fine line. #yesastripper

8 years ago I got my first teaching job Tantra Fitness, I was 2 years into my burlesque career and so nervous to start translating what I did naturally / self-taught into a curriculum for others to start learning from. I never had any burlesque training, in those days, like the days before me, it was extremely DIY, Youtube didn’t even exist yet. (I know, 10 years is not that long ago, but in the digital age, it is!). All I had was experience and stage chops, rehearsals and peer reviews, what I had seen others do on stage and what I had read in books or what people had told me. Ultimately, I / we made it up. These days you can take burlesque classes from instructors who have never done burlesque but might know concepts of it. They might have seen a show or know because they have sexy dance moves that it can be called “Burlesque”, but ultimately it’s borrowed from those that do it authentically, artistically and as a career. The ones that live the art of the tease and the strip. Parallel to our Exotic Dance sisters, it is a new medium to teach and therefore there is not many standards or pre-set curriculums. I’ve often had woman say they have taken a burlesque class, but it’s not “what I do on stage”, meaning it is a sexy dance class, perhaps referencing our industry or perhaps not. I think the more sass the merrier, but know your roots!

For the most part, taking a burlesque class is not met with animosity from outside people like Pole Dance and Stripping is. For some reason, a ticketed show and a tiny g-string allows most people to fly under the radar when it comes to being a fancy naked lady, or a person who is taking lessons from said fancy naked lady. Not like the stigma of working in a strip club and teaching women how to get down on a pole. For some reason people can still come in and take a pole lesson and distance themselves from Strippers and think its ok. But they can come in and take a burlesque lesson and feel empowered, embody the “movement” and have that be ok. Nope. Why the need for the whorephobia? Why do we still have a whorearchy? Us practitioners, myself both as a burlesque performer and exotic dancer, want all woman to feel liberated in their body and it’s expression. Our sexuality and our narrative belongs to us, as individuals and we are entitled to feel as much or as little as we see fit. A woman’s sexuality and it’s expression belongs to her and her alone.

But please, do not for one moment borrow from those that have laid the ground work for you to have access to it, and trample down on them. This is about unity, solidarity and growth. Not an elitist – take it when it’s convenient and privileged to you, but throw that sex worker under the bus when it’s not – kind of deal. I LOVE the message in this article highlights for acknowledging the fact that we have the POWER to end this bullshit stigma against sex workers in such an easy way, to use out voices and unity instead of distancing yourself form the very thing that is liberating you. No, you might not be a stripper/burlesque person/naked lady but LOTS of us are, and lots of us love it, and lots of us love sharing our skills with you. Stop being afraid people are going to think you’re a dirty stripper and use your new found liberation skills to educate them on the fact that although you don’t work at a club or perform on a stage (and maybe are even shy about nudity) that you can still support those that do and you’re learning some pretty bad ass skills because of it!

I would not be in the place I am were in not for the incredibly supportive environment of Tantra Fitness. Personally and professionally, they have given me an amazing environment to grow and even given me the courage to open my own studio with business partner Cherry OnTop – The Vancouver Burlesque Centre. Their blend of Pole Fitness and Exotic Dance mentality, students next to strippers – is inspiring. The world of sexy dancing could learn a few things.
This article is amazing, read it, share it.
‪#‎yesastripper‬
http://harlot.media/articles/1572/strippers-need-to-take-back-pole-dancing

Annnnd, since we are on the topic of sex work empowerment, take the time to read this beauty –
http://www.elephantjournal.com/2016/03/im-a-sex-worker-and-this-is-what-ill-tell-my-child/

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2 . 0 . 1 . 5 : a mirror

“The best thing you can do for an artist is hire them.”
(Jo Boobs? Cass King? I swear it was one of those power pussies!)

My reflections, as the last day of the year is upon us, turn inward. I kept thinking I would have more time to write about the immense fulfillment the last year has brought me. How I’ve been moved multiple times by kindness and generosity. How being bestowed with opportunities in my industry have moved me to tears. How the balance of performing / traveling / teaching and training exhausted me, but in the same breath invigorated me. How I was able to become more deeply connected to those I know and was given space to encompass so many more new relationships. How being part of an industry that is thick with art, beauty, creativity and glamour doesn’t come without struggle, friction, uncertainty and heartache. How each one of us carries stories of triumph and failure. How we can judge ourselves and each other – you can always do better, do more, someone is always doing more and doing it better.

In the past year I’ve been on 42 airplanes, traveling and performing within 5 counties and many, many towns and cities. A little piece of me simultaneously dies with gratitude and is then reborn in joy when someone wants to pay me to fly across the country and take off my clothes. This is what I’ve worked for, it’s what all the effort and struggle  leads up too. Being able to pull from my body of work creations that translate to audiences far and wide is amazing. What it doesn’t allow for is the deep creation of the new. In an industry and age where we all want and seek the next big, shiny, fully rhinestoned creation, it can do your head’n’heart in a little bit. I’ve given this some thought and I’ve given it some feels.

What I have come up with, or more to the point, come back to is – Trust. Trust in the fact that you are enough and you are doing it. That not everything that matters and adds up, needs to be “epic” and “grand”. That by being present in your work, whatever that may be, is what you need to be doing. My focus has been: keeping up with myself, leaving room to be present on the stages I am invited to be on, to be my best, fullest self, to show up for the audience, my fellow performers, the producers that hire me and the students that show up in my classes. My focus has also been to maintain my health and energy by giving myself space to rejuvenate and focus on what gives me light. That might not be creating the next big act, that might be learning a new skill like flipping upside-down on a pole, that might be researching skin care, that might be setting an intention to visit the ocean once a week.  We all have something that grounds us, and it might not be about the stage. And that’s ok, it still counts. In fact, it counts more than you might value.

This small reflection is not meant to be about the struggle, we all know it’s real. It comes in various forms on different days to all of us – arty stripper weirdos or not. This post is about the deep, staggering appreciation I have been left with after this year; the full, tipping to the brim heart I can sip from; the potent, saturated skin I allow my sighs to escape. My reflections are because of those in my life that I love and that love me back. It is because of those I love deeply and intimately and those I love back with only a double tap❤ , as we might be worlds apart. I’m graciously bowing to every opportunity given, every kind word shared, ever door opened and bed offered, every roaring applause, every speck of feedback, every stumble, every belly laugh, every “yes you can”, every too-long of hug, every thank you, every space held, every inspiration you gave me just by being yourself, every honest sharing. Sometimes all I’m left with is thank you.

So thank you, thank you, thank you. Happy New Years Lovers – may your seeds of intention grow so immense you have to plant a new f*cking garden, may your river overflow, may your harvest feed the stars.

xoxo
Frosty

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Photo by Dina Day, Vancouver Nov.2015

I know not of these limitations you speak of.

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My greatest fear is holding back.

The holding back of any expression possibly lost due to fear and the lack of courage to overcome it. The thought of not fulfilling my heart’s passions and letting them drown unrealized in the deepest part of me is frightening. I have always been a bold person, done what I wanted despite what might stand in my way. But there is more to it – another level. I recall the conscious moment I decided I would start living for me – creating out of nothing, the vision I had for myself. It would be (it is) the most work I have ever done. It is also the most satisfying, the most pure and the most terrifying.

Be bold. Be brave. Let go. Trust. Photo by Reckless Photography.

Be bold. Be brave. Let go. Trust. Photo by Reckless Photography.

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United by pastie and g-string – the generous giving of BurlyCon.

Before I gave an interview on what I teach, someone whom I admire very much said to me, “Go get em, don’t be stingy with your knowledge. What you have to offer is valuable, be generous.” It was sound advice from a leader I trusted. It gave me the insight and strength to not only be strong in my character but trust what I had to offer was of worth. You see, when you are teaching, you are not meant to know everything – you never will. What makes you a good teacher is the ability to share who you are, where you have been and what you have learned. It’s your perspective and how you present it that makes you a good teacher.

Through my years I’ve had so many crushes on my teachers. Ones who inspired me, who pushed me, who were kind to me. Ones who drove me to be better, to strive and to achieve. I’ve have teachers so strong that even now, I hear their voices as I transition poses in a yoga class led by someone else. That gentle, knowledgeable voice – the one that triggered a gem of awakening in me. That moment of connection I felt with myself, made simply because of what they shared of themselves so generously.

Teaching "Anatomy of a chair dance". ©Don Spiro

Teaching “Anatomy of a chair dance”. ©Don Spiro

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Sexy !proceed with caution!

There is a danger to the word sexy.

It’s like a preloaded gun that someone handed to you to use but you didn’t ask for it in the first place. But here you are, finger on the trigger, pointing at a target and hoping you hit the bull’s eye.

Sexy is subjective. Sexy is preordained. Sexy is a myth. Sexy is as individual as each person, and yet it is commodified and sold as something standard and commercial – something unattainable. No wonder women rebel against it – or long for it so intensely. We shy away from this human right of feeling sexual because we do not feel sexy. Their kind of sexy. If we look to the mainstream to give us clues on how to be a woman and how to be sexy, we are losing a game that was never meant to be won.

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.In your debt.

I am indeed a wealthy woman. One who can bankroll a heart, can shell out mad abundance and front the bill on kindness. My currency is love and I have very deep pockets. As wealthy as I am there is also a great debt that I carry: the debt of gratitude. This debt is not heavy like a sack of carbon blocks slung over your shoulder bogging you down; repressive. This is a weightless wonderment, a renewable resource. It exists everywhere and is begging to be claimed; cultivated.

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