Rediscovering Myself as a 50 Year Old Burlesque Dancer

Ever since I first watched the film Burlesque with Cher and Christina Aguilera, I was quite fascinated with this style of dance. There was something intriguing about it. Something that would bring out all sides of your personality. And something I would love to try. However, as many a burlesque dancer seems to have the figure of a small child, I figured I wouldn’t be squeezing myself into a lacy basque and swinging nipple tassels anytime soon.

But after I finished my last cabaret dance course a few weeks ago, our lovely dance teacher Maggie told us about a burlesque class she was running, and my ears pricked up. After 6 weeks of dancing right out of my comfort zone, I felt a bit more comfortable and well, certainly more confident to shake it up a bit. Metaphorically speaking of course.

Becoming a Burlesque Dancer

So, on a plain Thursday, I found myself back in the same place. The same time and with most of the same people as before. Whilst it all felt right, it also felt a little more exciting. And dare I say, a little more risqué…


burlesque dancer

We began the first dance, which mainly involved removing long satin gloves. That little voice of self-doubt popped up and started talking to me. You need to be sexy for this dance and you’re not, it whispered. You need to be oozing glamour and you don’t, it reminded me. No one would want to watch you dance, it giggled.

Who am I Trying to Kid?

Maybe I was a bit too far out of my comfort zone, after all. Maybe this isn’t for me — I mean, who I am trying to kid? Not only dancing with a little more pizzazz than normal but also acting like some sexy siren who men adore. Both things couldn’t be further from ‘me’ if they tried.

But of course, with every voice of self-doubt, comes the voice of reason. The voice that makes you do things you wouldn’t normally do. The voice that convinces you it’s only for an hour. And the voice that was now saying seriously, what’s the worst that can happen?

So I continued to peel gloves from my hands with my teeth. I swizzled them around my head with a certain amount of swagger. I even found myself pulling one of those quite unique dancer faces. And yes, I even enjoyed myself as well.

Rediscovering Sex Appeal and Confidence

After we’d mastered the first dance, we started on the second that involved being seductive whilst wearing a coat. I’d bought along a simple mac, that not only smelt of mothballs but was a little tight across the chest. Sexy and seductive I was not. But, as I made a mental note to pop it into the local charity shop soon, I also thought how my faux fur coat would fit the part. I also ticked off shoes with a heel in my head and smiled as I realized, I was thinking like the burlesque dancer I was about to become.

Yes, the thought of being sexy and alluring may scare most women over a certain age. I’m sure we all worry about bits wobbling, drooping and swinging in ways that no man would want to see. But (of course, there’s a but!) what I can guarantee is you will also feel pretty damn wonderful inside and out.

This is part of Jo Howell’s series: 50 Ways to Leave Your 40s. See what other experiences Jo has had here. 




We are giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card every month to one of our subscribers! To enter, simply add your email address below. If you already subscribe, you will automatically be entered. Winners will be chosen randomly.

Related Posts: