6 Lessons in Confidence from the London Burlesque Festival

Burlesque! People of all ages, sizes, ethnicities, and genders shaking what they’ve got, and taking most of their clothes off, for the delight of the audience. An audience of all ages, sizes, ethnicities, and genders. OK, not many kids but this is people being erotic, exotic, and also talented and funny.

I was lucky enough to win tickets to the Big Burlesque Day Out, part of the 2019 London Burlesque Festival

caged crinoline london burlesque festival 2019

Taking place across multiple months and venues, the festival is a showcase of the talent, moves, and confidence of the performers, and indeed the various vendors, who’ve travelled to London for the event.

I was there courtesy of Caged Crinoline – awesome costume maker and performer, whose ticket giveaway competition I entered on Instagram, which goes to show you should always have a go.

caged crinoline london burlesque festival 2019
Overlord Robin & Caged Crinoline

And what a show! Performances took place throughout the day and while we weren’t able to stay for the evening shows, which were undoubtedly a little more risqué, we saw a lot, and learned a lot about confidence too.

The 5 Things I Learned About Confidence at the London Burlesque Festival

1) Attitude is Everything

caged crinoline london burlesque festival 2019

These performers owned that stage. They made it theirs and theirs alone and the attitude that they belonged to be there came through by the bucket load (of nipple tassels). Afterwards, I thanked one of the performers for their show and they were incredibly shy. Adopting a stage persona when you go into a situation that needs confidence can help you too, but don’t take your clothes off probably. 

2) But Skill Matters Too

Attitude on its own will get you on stage with confidence, but it won’t make your performance shine.  Confidence without competence is plain old arrogance and while an arrogant performer has their place, nobody wants to see your confidence drain away as you visibly think ‘oh fuck. What am I doing up here?’ You need practice, and fortunately help was on hand in the form of Honey Cocoa Bordeauxx’s burlesque for beginners workshop. Everyone was welcome to get involved and all sorts of people had a go. Some were elegant, I was not, but being inelegant at something is the first step in being sort of elegant at something. 

3) Dress to Impress

caged crinoline london burlesque festival 2019

You don’t need sparkles and feathers to impress at an interview, date, or event. Probably. It very much depends on where you’re interviewing, who you’re dating, or what the event is. Dressing well for the situation gives you a big confidence boost – even if you’re not wearing much at all – and simple things; polished shoes, matching belt, great cufflinks, earrings, a well-fitting shirt or blouse. Making a small amount of effort can go a long way to boosting your confidence and making you feel awesome.

4) Own Your Mistakes

More on this one soon but owning your mistakes is awesome. The performances weren’t all perfect; there were feathers getting in the way, a nip slip when a tassel fell off in the heat and humidity of the venue, a wobble on heels. They all went with it and either incorporated it into their act or just moved on and everyone quickly forgot as their act continued (apart from me of course but I’m annoying and had this blog to write).

5) Know Your Audience

London Burlesque Show Host

The performers knew how much to give away and when. Leading the audience on an erotic journey and keeping more hidden than given away. They knew their audience and played to them, teasing and tantalizing, getting the whoops and cheers before even a glove hit the floor. Whether you’re at an interview, writing a blog, filming a YouTube video or something else – give your audience what they want and don’t be afraid of keeping a little something back (ain’t that right my awesome paying clients? That sounds like I send them nudes and I promise I don’t).

caged crinoline london burlesque festival 2019
New crown for the overlord!

While I don’t intend on starting a career in burlesque anytime soon, it was a delight to be among the performers, sellers of funky/sexy/vintage wares, and I even got bought a crown.

Until next time, level up your confidence with burlesque! 

Robin Bates – watch out, your overlord has a new crown


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Robin Bates

Coaching for Geeks Overlord at Coaching for Geeks
Robin Bates is a 40 year old manchild who somehow ended up in charge of Coaching for Geeks. He has a penchant for gaming, dressing up, music festivals, and the Oxford comma. He is a terrible typist despite many hours playing Typing of the Dead.
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