Stop slouching. The key to a burlesque workout is perfect posture, says Ginger Leigh of Peek-A-Boo Revue, a neo-burlesque troupe performing next on July 25th at the World Cafe Live — and it also enhances your confidence and helps reduce the risk of workout-related injuries. Lengthen your back and neck, and remember to tighten your stomach — and continue it after the show stops, too. “Don’t look down, never look like you’re apologizing, and keep your chin up,” says Ginger.
Get gorgeous gams. This move from Annie A-Bomb of Cabaret Red Light (the vaudeville-meets-burlesque troupe that performs monthly at L’Etage) will tone your legs — and you’ll look good doing it, too. Lie flat on your back — or for adventurous gals, position yourself on a sturdy chair, scoot your butt to the edge of the seat — and raise your legs straight up in the air, squeezed together. Slowly open your legs to make a V. Keeping them extended, bring them back together, squeezing your muscles the entire time. For extra points, strap on ankle weights or don your heaviest, sexiest heels.
Loosen up. Tight hamstrings can tame your tease, so try increasing your flexibility with side splits like D’Arcy D’Lux of Hellcat Girls Burlesque (posing for amateur artists at Dr. Sketchy’s on August 21st), who started as a solo burlesque trapeze act. She recommends a split with one leg leading and one behind. Start standing up with your legs together and slowly reach for your toes. Then take a step apart and stretch down again. Repeat until the distance between your legs is “uncomfortable but [doesn’t] hurt.”
Tone your tummy. The shimmy-shake is a classic burlesque move that can be difficult to master at first, but works your belly and hips like no other once you get it down, explains burlesque dance instructor Nicole Carlin of POP Fizz Burleseque. Start by bending each knee in turn — you’ll find your hips will begin to shimmy up and down. Shake the hips rapidly, tummy tightened, while bending your knees one at a time.
Have hot hips. Hip circles — think Shakira — can do wonders for this common problem spot, says Carlin. Stand with your right leg a step ahead of your left, arms raised and clasped over your head. With your right knee bent, roll the right hip in a circle towards your audience (or your mirror). Repeat with your left side, circling left. With both knees bent, roll your hips in a figure eight for an extra burn.