Find Your Folklife – Buttercup
I’m a burlesque performer…
I use classic burlesque gimmicks in my routines. The feather fan dance is a burlesque gimmick. The dance of the seven veils is a burlesque staple. If you hear that you’re going to see someone do the bump and grind, it sets the stage and the audience knows what to expect.
The costume has to function…to come off when it needs to come off, so there are tricks of the trade that burlesque performers pass on down to each other. If you share a backstage space with a burlesque performer, most are eager to share their own knowledge, and how they get things to work. Being able to express myself is so empowering. I didn’t have that before I did burlesque. I create the whole picture. I make the costume. It’s my idea. I don’t have a director standing over me. I don’t have a choreographer. It’s all me.
Burlesque is intentional, not voyeuristic. I want people to know that. I am showing you exactly what I want you to see. I’m grateful that I found this artistic practice, and I take its lessons off the stage with me, into my life.
—Buttercup, Burlesque Hall of Fame, Las Vegas
Click here for the next story in the Find Your Folklife Exhibit