Class Descriptions at GBE

The Conference at The Great Burlesque Exposition features more than 60 hours of class time over threee days. It is the original Professional Development Conference for burlesque performers, founded on the philosophy that "If we don't take ourselves seriously, no one else will either".

Whether you're looking to boost a skill set to the next level or develop some new skills, The Conference has something for you from costuming to publicity to philosophical discussions.

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Iridessa Blossoms,
Sept. 5, 2021, 11 a.m. - noon

Come and learn to Fly, Base and Spot in this pure hour of invigorating fun!  We will dive in and explore all of the amazing physical shapes and poses that can be formed during this very physical and social practice.

Build your body awareness as well as strength and flexibility.  While basing the flyer and adding additional body weight, you will experience immediate help in becoming more flexible while increasing your balance and strength.  As the flyer you will experience weightlessness in a solid hollow body format while being introduced to a new level of trust.  The spotting position offers a safe connection with cooperation to this yoga art form.

Come and immerse yourself in this fun loving art of yoga and play!  You will be in awe about what a blast you will have!

Red Velvet,
Sept. 4, 2021, 1 p.m. - 2 p.m.

Aren't fans beautiful?  Do you want to use them in your act?  Learn about different types of fans, different hand holds, and basic fan dance movements as part of this class.  Please bring your own fans.  If you do not have ostrich feather fans, hand fans will do in a pinch...  

Red Velvet,
Sept. 5, 2021, 11 a.m. - noon

Do you make pasties?  Do you want to?  If you have not made pasties or you have and you want some tips and tricks to improve your pastie-making game, this class is for you!  This class focuses on making a pattern for your pasties, basic construction and materials for your pasties, adding tassels, using spinners, and adding design and sparkle!  It's time to level up!    

Red Velvet,
Sept. 4, 2021, 9 a.m. - 10 a.m.

One hour class to improve strength and flexibility. Through a series of guided strengthening and stretching exercises students will learn to improve their leg flexibility, strengthen their ankles (important for dancing in heels), and generally loosen muscles. This class teaches a mix of exercises taken from ballet, yoga, and other dance forms. The class will be geared towards basic level students, but all levels of flexibility are welcome. A ttendees will be checked during exercises for proper form and to prevent injury.  Please wear combortable clothes that are easy to move in!

Mr. Scratch,
Sept. 4, 2021, 11 a.m. - noon

Social Media Marketing is the creation and sharing of content on your social media networks in order to drive engagement with your audience. This class familiarizes students with different social media platforms and content management tools, as well as discussing different styles of content, so they may select a marketing strategy that best reflects their brand and allows them to acheive their marketing goals.  We'll also cover SMM budgeting and metrics for gauging the success of campaigns.

Iridessa Blossoms,
Sept. 4, 2021, 1 p.m. - 2 p.m.

Are you looking to add some new moves to your repertoire?  Express your femininity and sensuality through the art of belly dance.  This is a drill based class. We will focus on posture and body control while doing isolations and various movements with different parts of the body. We will also touch base on some layering techniques. Iridessa is known for her pop n’ lock isolations and hybrid style of belly dance.  You will learn hands on how to execute fluid, abrupt and smooth transitions demonstrated in her signature acts “The Robot” and “Roustabout".  Class will start with a warm up and end with a warm down. You will also be instructed on a short combination.  Get ready to experience your inner goddess with some sex appeal!

Alice Rainka,

In this hour long class, we will learn a full routine to one song.  This is a dance-based class.  While the moves will be simple enough for beginners, we will be learning a dance routine to a full song using sexy burlesque-esque dance moves to tease and titillate.  Get ready to bring out your inner Christina Aguilera!

Red Velvet,
Sept. 4, 2021, 2 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Each Cardio-Cancan class starts with a ballet based warmup and stretching. Then we go over specific steps and techniques for cancan kick lines, traveling steps and turns. Finally, get your heart pumping with flirty cancan choreography! It’s so much fun, you won’t even realize you are working out! ALL LEVELS OF FLEXIBILITY AND DANCE EXPERIENCE WELCOME! This class has been designed to provide an introduction to classic ballet techniques in a comfortable environment for those who have never taken formal dance classes before. At the same time, experienced dancers will enjoy the sense of play, enjoyment and sensuality in the class, which can be hard to find in many traditional ballet studios.

Iridessa Blossoms,
Sept. 4, 2021, 4 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Leave your heels at home ladies and gentlemen.  We’re bringing sexy back…and The Macarena!  This cardio dance class is infused with a variety of dance styles.  Routines are fun and playful yet song specific and some of the movements are repetitive.  You will be instructed on several  short dance combinations.  As usual we will begin with a warm up and cooling down.  You will have a myriad of moves to pull out of your dance belt to use to tease or in whichever way you please!  

Lulu La Femme,

Caress Burlesque

Sensual Self-Touch When Performing for Many, One, or None

Lulu is your tour guide as you explore your body wonderland from head-to-toe. Learn the importance of:

*setting an intention

*sending a clear invitation

*highlighting and presenting your best assets

*creating sensual choreography

*lustful leveling

*provocative props 

..... and more.


Lecture; with Movement/Choreography portion (Powerpoint presentation/handouts to be provided)

This workshop is suited for all dance levels and abilities. Variations in movement and options will be offered throughout.

Miss Mina Murray,
Sept. 5, 2021, 4 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Give your beloved costumes the care they deserve! You lavish so much time, effort, and money on them before they go on stage, learn to take care of them after you come off stage! Miss Mina, “The Martha Stewart of Burlesque”, teaches you the methods theatrical costumers and museum professionals use to clean, store, transport, and maintain costumes (and vintage clothing!) so that they last and last. Save money and look better!

Ava Fox,
Sept. 4, 2021, 3 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Did you hate math in school? Do you only like pi when it's edible? I'll simplify the irrational in this step-by-step guide on how to make a circle skirt pattern, modify it for burlesque, and sew it together.

Della-Kate Flower,
Sept. 4, 2021, 2 p.m. - 3 p.m.

One thing about plus-size performers?  We have a lot to offer!  ....and a lot to cover.

This beginning class about underwear and bra and body cage creation for the plus-size body will cover pattern making for three different types of underwear coverage, three different types of bras, and three different body cage designs for larger body types.  

Part 1: Deciding on a Look: drafting patterns, pattern materials, sketching

Part 2: Selecting fabrics, elastic, and additional hardware to make it strippable

Part 3: Sparkly decoration or appliques or even fun shapes to add to your look PLUS storage tips

Angie Richer,

This class will teach the basics of creating props using EVA foam

Guilted Lilly,
Sept. 5, 2021, 3 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Are you a person? Then this class is for you! Whether you’re new or experienced, a stage kitten or an emcee, a performer or a techie, or even a longtime observer wanting to participate, learning the ins and outs of being the best stage kitten you can be is an essential tool to add to your belt. Being a stage kitten might seem like a simple job involving picking up clothes and setting up props, but there is SO much more to it! There is also a common misconception that being a stage kitten is a stepping stone to being a “real” performer. In reality, a good stage kitten can truly make or break a show and alleviate a lot of stress for everyone involved. Sound scary? Don’t worry, it’s tons of fun, and you’ll be learning from (and playing with) the best of the best!


In this frolic-filled workshop, we will explore:

-what the role of “stage kitten” really entails (heh)

-staying efficient and sexy at the same time

-why your love of taking care of people is perfect for this

-being prepared for (almost) anything

-staying “in character”

-troubleshooting and problem solving before, during, and after shows

-the glamorous stuff

-the way less glamorous stuff

-having insane amounts of fun while taking your job incredibly seriously

-tricks of the trade: special tips, tricks, and little-known secrets that make your job easier

-self-care: important ways to look after your body, mind, and spirit before, during, and after shows

-the significance of the filthy-sounding title of this workshop


My hope is that you will leave this class with a mew--ahem, new--skill set that you will be able to apply to future stage kittening endeavors, a fresh excitement for giving this often-overlooked job a try (or another try), and an appreciation for the kittens in your community. Also a smile. I really hope you leave with a smile.


What to bring:

Your beautiful selves! I also recommend a notebook/writing implement and wearing clothes you can move in that make you feel sexy. Knee pads might come in handy if your knees are sensitive. Come prepared to work and play!


This class is open to people of all genders and experience levels.

Miss Mina Murray,
Sept. 4, 2021, 10 a.m. - 11 a.m.

Corsets are one of those classic burlesque costume elements, but they can be baffling. Overbust, waist training, spiral, busks... What does it all mean? Let Miss Mina, an award-winning costumer and long-time corset-wearer, guide you through all aspects of corsetry. You'll learn how to buy a corset that's right for you and essential information for making your own. We'll also discuss how to properly wear a corset and, most importantly, how to remove it!

Iridessa Blossoms,
Sept. 5, 2021, 4 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Fusing the groovy nature of hip hop and the art of burlesque.  Are you looking for something new to spice up your number?  We will be gettin’ down and dirty!

You will be introduced to the unconventional art of hip hop as a dance form.  Prior experience is not necessary but will be helpful.  You will get an up close and personal opportunity, to learn some moves and techniques that Iridessa is known for.  Class will consist of a warm up and a cool down followed by choreographed dance instruction.  Be ready to get your swagga on and take the stage like a hip hop showgirl!  Dress for movement and bring an open mind and water.  Sneakers and booty shorts are welcome! 

Sheila Starr Siani,
Sept. 4, 2021, 2 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Let's loosen up those hips by exploring the sensual yet strong sways of Polynesia. We will learn some basic moves, the mechanics of hip movement while breaking a good sweat.


This works your core, booty, llegs and even your arms.


Scarlett Letter,
Sept. 5, 2021, 2 p.m. - 3 p.m.

"I'm not in burlesque for the money." That's fine, but, there is money involved, and we all need to keep track of it. Class topics will include opportunity costs, break even points, invoicing and what your accountant is looking for during tax season. Time permitting, advanced tax topics like depreciation and amortization will be covered. This class is a starting point, and does not replace the advice of a certified tax accountant.

Willy Barrett,
Sept. 5, 2021, 1 p.m. - 2 p.m.

To be gazed upon intensely can be so threatening, and filled with elements of power, judgment, danger, covetousness, control, and so dehumanizing that we have unspoken rules limiting it. This etiquette of gaze goes both ways with the bad manners of looking, and the bad manners of daring to be seen. Busy choreography can even be a way of avoiding discomfort around being seen.  By consciously directing the gaze we will explore how choosing to be seen can be more powerful than any dance technique, and more intensely sensual than any costume or daring exposure. It’s fun to claim the forbidden power of being seen.

Ava Fox,
Sept. 5, 2021, 1 p.m. - 2 p.m.

Draft a basic triangle bra/bikini top suitable for the beach or the stage! We will look at darted cups and gathered cups based on your own measurements.

Ava Fox,
Sept. 5, 2021, 2 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Learn the process of drafting an underwear pattern from scratch custom-made to your measurements. We will cover a high-waisted pattern draft followed by low-waisted, thong, and other design variations.

Scarlett Letter,
Sept. 5, 2021, 1 p.m. - 2 p.m.

Producing, like so many things, is both a blessing and a curse. This class intends to help you navigate the curses so you can enjoy the blessings. Topics will include budgeting, timelines, communications, different styles of shows and structures, and a discussion about advertising in different markets. Handouts will be available in person or electronically.   

Willy Barrett,
Sept. 4, 2021, 10:30 a.m. - noon

Nine Nazgul, or Nine Muses: you decide. The nine laws of movement apply to the seduction and tease of Burlesque as fully as they do to any other fine art. We will study how qualities of movement: direction, shape, altitude, velocity, recoil, etc., all can carry messages of intense seduction and character development in your burlesque routine. Whether you want to be polite, playful, or steamy, these laws will help you fulfill your personal burlesque style and vision.

Sheila Starr Siani,
Sept. 5, 2021, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.

An exploration of sensuality through movement.

Part discussion, part movement, we are going to talk about sex and sexiness in terms of how we view ourselves on and off stage.

In the movement portion, we will take some of these concepts and apply them to our movements, focusing on creating beautiful lines and flow. (yes, we will do some floorwork, and I'll help people cheat it who can't.)

Heavy notes in audience engagement, energy, intention, body language, enticement, sex appeal.

Catty Wompass,
Sept. 4, 2021, 9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Class Description: For every act we perform, we create a new persona. Sometimes it's specific: maybe you're performing as Bellatrix Lestrange, who comes with her own set of distinct personality traits and desires. Or perhaps you’re performing a classic burlesque routine, and your persona is less defined, “a confident, elegant woman”. Consciously or not, your choreography tells the story of your persona, and knowing your persona can help your ideas for choreography flow. The first step to improving an act is understanding this storytelling process, uncovering what motivates your song and choreography choices, and learning how to harness that creative power. In this class, we will use creative writing techniques to deepen our personas and unlock their stories. Then, we will begin sculpting, either revising an existing act, or creating a new one from scratch (up to you!). Performers with existing acts will have the opportunity to perform in front of the group and receive notes, while students new to burlesque will have the opportunity to try out choreography they developed in class.

Teacher Bio: Catty Wompass has been performing burlesque in the Midwest and the Bay Area for over 6 years. She is the co-producer of Bawdy Bawdy Ha Ha in Iowa City, and delights in helping local burlesque-hopefuls make strong stage debuts. In her muggle life, Catty holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and has her dream job teaching creative writing at the University of Iowa. Combining the arts of storytelling and burlesque is her passion, and she’s excited to share her unique perspective and techniques with the Great Burlesque Expo!

Miss Mina Murray,
Sept. 4, 2021, 1 p.m. - 2 p.m.

This simple beading technique anyone can learn adds a hint of sparkle to hems, collars, straps, or any edge of your costume! Beautiful on its own, edge-beading can also be used as a base for more elaborate beading. In this workshop, students will learn techniques they can apply to other projects. There will be kits for $5 each, as supplies last.

Scarlett Letter,
Sept. 4, 2021, 11 a.m. - noon

A costuming course focusing on fabric choices and treatment. Sewing methods, glue, and structure are a few of the topics that will be covered.

Betty Blaize,
Sept. 4, 2021, 4 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Behind the art, and the glamour, and the blood, sweat and tears - every act is a project, and every performer is, on some level, a project manager.

While the act of artistic creation will never be entirely agony-free, this class seeks to help students minimize the agony - or at least reserve it for the struggle of art, rather than the stress and worry of having projects fail at the last minute, and an endless string of all nighters.

Betty Blaize is a seasoned choregrapher, dance coach, dance teacher and creator of 13+ years worth of Burlesque acts for both herself and many others.  Beyond that, she's also a 20+ year seasoned project manager in any number of venues, from high tech, to show production, to the Great Burlesque Expo itself.

Betty Blaize will cover:

  • Schedule planning
  • The "Iron Triangle" inherent in any project
  • Understanding your risks and ways to mitigate them
  • Ways to look at investing in both original development and later upgrades
  • Tricks for making an act as reuseable as possible

Come to class and learn some ways to reduce act-creation-exhaustion while improving the reliability of a good product.



Sept. 5, 2021, 11 a.m. - noon

Know your roots! Burlesque historian Miss Mina introduces you to the women who shaped the Golden Age of burlesque and inspired the stars of today. This informative and entertaining muti-media presentation and talk is a lively trip through our shared history, highlighting the influential performers in burlesque from the Victorian Era to the 1960s.