Burlesque Sunday in Rotterdam – every first Sunday

When I started my burlesque journey in 2008 there was not yet much information on how to create a burlesque act, such as what is suitable and what is not.

After visiting local burlesque shows (some of which had international performers) and reviewing every available video on the internet, I still thirsted to know more.

In 2011 I decided to visit the biggest burlesque event on Earth – “Burlesque Hall of Fame” – and it was an amazing educational experience. I was able to get plenty of new information by meeting a lot of talented international performers and attending masterclasses with the pioneers of burlesque – Marinka, Joan Arline, and Tiffanie Carter.

Throughout all those years, I was still looking for my place in burlesque. Sometimes I would lose my way, trying out styles that didn’t suit me, but usually finding my path again quickly.

I was lucky enough to be able to take some burlesque classes from the talented Michelle L’amour, Russel Brunner and Bonnie Fox.   I have also drawn a great deal of inspiration from belly dance, as it is a very feminine art. My belly dance teachers taught me not only dancing techniques, but also how to flirt on stage and enjoy every moment of being in a feminine body. Thank you Fifi Abdou, Sadie Marquardt and my friend Nadya for helping me on my journey.

These days, I’m beginning to realize that I’ve reached a point where I’m now able to share my knowledge with other women who would like to learn the amazing art of classic burlesque.

Every first Sunday of the month I now organize “Burlersque Sunday in Rotterdam.”

During these events, burlesque lovers come together to share knowledge and experiences. Each event has two masterclasses and every month has a different theme. Once every three months there is a guest teacher. It’s also possible to book a 1 hour private class/coaching (maximum 2 persons).

Below an overview of the events.

If you wish to participate in one of the classes send an email to info@madameromanova.com with a note including the masterclass name and date.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on social media. Thank you!

2 December, 2018

“Intro to Burlesque” by M’me Romanova (a repetition of the November class)
Doors open: 12:30
Time: 13:00 – 14:00
Dress code: high-heeled shoes (comfortable height.)
Cost: 20,00 €.
“Posing Like a Model” by M’me Romanova
Doors open: 14:00
Time: 14:30-16:00
Dress code: high-heeled shoes (comfortable height), tight black clothes.
Cost: 30,00 €.

6 January, 2019

“Intro to Burlesque” by M’me Romanova (a repetition of the November class)
Doors open: 12:30
Time: 13:00 – 14:00
Dress code: high-heeled shoes (comfortable height.)
Cost: 20,00 €.
“Sensual Burlesque 2” by M’me Romanova
Doors open: 14:00
Time: 14:30-16:00
Dress code: high-heeled shoes (comfortable height), evening/opera gloves, shawl/boa, lingerie set (bra, panty), suspender belt, stockings, pasties.
Cost: 30,00 €.

3 February, 2019

“Face expressions” by M’me Romanova
Doors open: 12:30
Time: 13:00 – 14:00
Dress code: no
Cost: 20,00 €.
“Strip techniques” by  Sarah Dries
Doors open: 14:00
Time 14:30-16:00
Dress code: will be announced.
Cost: 30,00 €.

3 March, 2019

Face Expressions” by M’me Romanova (a repetition of the February class)
Doors open: 12:30
Time: 13:00 – 14:00
Dress code: no
Cost: 20,00 €.
“Posing Like a Model” by M’me Romanova (a repetition of the December class)
Doors open: 14:00
Time 14:30-16:00
Dress code: high-heeled shoes (comfortable height), tight black clothes.
Cost: 30,00 €.

7 April, 2019

“Sensual Burlesque 1” by M’me Romanova (a repetition of the November class)
Doors open: 12:30
Time: 13:00-14:30
Dress code: high-heeled shoes (comfortable height), evening/opera gloves, shawl/boa, lingerie set (bra,panty), suspender belt, stockings, pasties.
Cost: 30,00 €.
“Feather Fan dancing” by M’me Romanova
Doors open: 14:30
Time: 15:00-16:30
Dress code: high-heeled shoes (comfortable height), tight black clothes, feather fans.
Costs: 30,00 €.

5 May, 2019

“Sensual Burlesque 2” by M’me Romanova (a repetition of the January class)
Doors open: 12:30
Time: 13:00-14:30
Dress code: high-heeled shoes (comfortable height).
Cost: 30,00 €.
“Bumps & Grinds” by Natsumi Scarlett
Doors open: 14:30
Time: 15:00-16:30
Dress code: will be announced.
Costs: 30,00 €.

Mata Hari and “The Art of the Tease”

I don’t remember when or where I first heard the name, of exotic dancer, Mata Hari and her unusual true-life story who was convicted of being a double spy during World War I, then executed by firing squad in France, but somehow it feels like I’ve known her my entire life.

In 2017, a hundred years after Mata Hari’s execution the secret files of her case became public. The Netherlands dedicated this year to her memory. I had a chance to visit the exhibition and performances about Mata Hari’s life and this inspired me to write this blog about her.

Mata Hari in Malaysian language means ‘eye of the day’ – the sun. It was the stage name of Dutch performer Margaretha Geertruida Zelle from Leeuwarden, her life had many unpredictable, dramatic and even ironic turns. Let’s follow Margaretha’s life path from her hometown Leeuwarden to all away to Paris where she transformed herself into iconic, Mata Hari.

Margaretha was born on 7 August 1876 in Leeuwarden, she had a happy carefree childhood surrounded by loving family and received a good education. However, at age thirteen she faced her first life problems: bankruptcy of her father, her family falling apart, her mother’s death and problems at school.

At age eighteen, Margaretha decided to reinvent her life and find a future husband who can financially support her. Note: it was a time when woman were dependent on men and Feminism was something that they only could dream about. Margaretha replied to the advertising in Dutch newspaper placed by Dutch Colonial Army Captain Rudolf MacLeod, who was looking for a future wife. One week after first meeting, they got engaged and five months later they got married, during this marriage family grew by two children Norman-John MacLeod (30 January 1897 – 27 June 1899) and Louise Jeanne MacLeod (2 May 1898 – 10 August 1919).

In May 1897, the couple moved to Java, former The Dutch East Indies (a Dutch colony consisting of what is now Indonesia). In Java Margaretha studied traditional dance styles and the culture of the island and enjoyed a local dance company. Soon after the marriage Margaretha’s husband turned in a monster, he drank, bit her, openly had affairs with other women and in every way tried to break her strong personality.

After their children became seriously ill, probably as a result of treatment from syphilis that McLeod gave to Margaretha, who transmitted it to the children during pregnancy. Note: In 1900 syphilis was treated with mercury and her son didn’t survive. This unhappy marriage didn’t last long and soon after returning to The Netherlands, they split. After the divorce McLeod refused to pay alimony and didn’t allow Margaretha to see her daughter, she was desperate and completely broken. Margaretha tried different jobs here and there, but her financial situation was very critical. She didn’t had another choose than to go to Paris, this wat all divorce woman did in that time. This decision wrote the history.

It’s really unbelievable that despite all difficulties Margaretha could put herself together and transform into the Mata Hari character. It was magical transformation from a caterpillar to a butterfly. I truly admire her power of will and strong personality!

Although most people associate Mata Hari as a double agent and dancer spy, it is my belief that Mata Hari first must be remembered as a founder in Europe of “the Art of the Tease ” by turning exotic dance with undressing elements into an Art Form, and presenting her acts in the most famous stages of her time. Ten years in a row Mata Hari’s shows were sold out and newspapers couldn’t stop describing her talent.

“So feline, extremely feminine, majestically tragic, the thousand curves and movements of her body trembling in a thousand rhythms.”
-Paris newspaper

How could Mata Hari present such provocative and scandalous dance choreography in that era? Let’s think about it together.

“Slender and tall with the flexible grace of a wild animal, and with blue-black hair.”
-Vienna’s journalist

Paris was the Fashion Capital of Europe and oriental style was a big trend when Mata Hari became famous with her exotic dance.

Mata Hari translated her undressing performance as a sacral dance from Far East and represented herself as a Javanese Princess of priestly Hindu birth, pretending to be immersed in the art of the sacred Indian dance since childhood.

“My dance is a secret poem in which each movement is a word and every word is underlined by music. The temple in which I dance can be vague or faithfully reproduced as it is tonight, for I am the temple.”
-Mata Hari

With the knowledge that she received in Java and the right contacts in Paris, Mata Hari created a fantasy persona known to the world as, Mata Hari and played that character during all her career.

Mata Hari’s acts were inspired by Java’s culture and she gave them educational meaning. Her performance existed of three parts, during each part she sensually removed a layer of her clothes and ended the performance with having on only bra and jewels, this what audience was thinking. In reality, she always wore flesh-coloured body stocking underneath. During her dance she offered herself to the god Shiva, and her dance routine was interpreted as an educational art form, as temple dance, but of course people came to see her lovely naked body.

In 1905, the year when she made her tribute, Mata Hari performed in over thirty theaters and salons in Paris. She was one of the highest paid dancers in Europe and became a style icon, her pictures were ubiquitous: in magazines, newspapers, cigarette boxes etc.

Madame Mac Méod (future Mata Hari) éxécutant des danses brahmaniques dans la bibliothèque du Musée Guimet de Paris
*13-3-1905

Unfortunately there is no known documented footage of her performance only photography and memories of the audience that describe her grace. We know that she was tall, charming, stylish, well-educated with a strong charisma. I believe that Mata Hari was correct in marketing herself as a brand, in the right place, at the right time.

“Death is nothing, nor life either, for that matter. To die, to sleep, to pass into nothingness, what does it matter? Everything is an illusion.”
-Mata Hari

If you wish to learn more about life of Mata Hari I advise you to watch a dramatized documentary “Mata Hari the Naked Spy” by filmmakers Machiel Amorison and Susan Wolf. This documentary unravels the complex story of Mata Hari and most intimate details of her life.

www.mataharithenakedspy.com

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on social media. Thank you!

Sally Rand Tribute

Dear Burlesque friends, many times I have been asked a question about my experience with Feather Fan Dancing. In this blog I would like to share a few tricks with you. Let’s take a look to the past where it all started.

In 1930s American Burlesque icon Sally Rand made Feather Fan Dance world famous. She inspired many Burlesque performers and this is the most popular performance style seen in burlesque today.

There are quite a few styles of this dance nowadays performed by many performers.

Some perform it with high level energy like Pearl Noir, another floating gracefully on the stage with the fans like Michelle L’amour, there are performers who add comedy to the act and feather Fan Dance get different energy.

In 2008 I discovered Burlesque and after visiting local Burlesque show I decided to create my first Burlesque act. I was in love with the grace of Sally Rand’s performance and choose Ostrich Feather Fans for my first Burlesque journey. After hours of watching Sally Rand’s and Dita Von Teese’s videos on youtube and days of practicing I debuted my Pink Ostrich Fan Dance in Amsterdam during “Burlesque Freakout” party.

I desired to learn more Feather Fan techniques and in 2010 I came across a DVD with Michelle L’amour lessons. In 2015 I was lucky enough to take part in her masterclasses how to work with Feather Fans.

In many years I have experimented and developed my own Feather Fan Dancing techniques and absolutely love using them in many of my performances. The most beautiful twist of this dance is that I always imagine that the fans are my wings and that they are part of me, like we are one. I cover my body with feather fans, moving them around and just letting a small part of my body being visible from time to time to my audience, giving just a small hint, then taking a pause before a grand reveal. It’s also very important to think about horizontal and vertical lines, lower-level floor work and higher-level work with the fans about your head.

I prefer to work with high-quality Fans made from either long, plump ostrich plumes, or voluptuous, floaty ostrich boa.

www.fancyfeather.com

www.beaurockscostumier.com

Feather Fan dancing is joy and fun to perform like Burlesque it self. Try it yourself.

I’m available to share my knowledge with you. For groups and private classes contact me here.

Madame Romanova

My brand new website

Hi everyone!!! My brand new website www.MadameRomanova.com finally is up and running! Special thanks to Konstantin Youdenko from youdenko.com who did an amazing job!!!