Burlesque 101: Get Your Acts Organized

Spring is here!  Time for a cleaning and organizing of your files & costumes!

Organizing your digital clutter:

  1. Untitled-6Start by creating a folder of the acts you perform most. Create a sub- folder for each act.
  2. Make sure each sub-folder has:
  • Your music file (WAV format is best, as it is uncompressed.) For more on music quality, check out: Format Matters, Why Your MP3 Sounds Bad, Audio File Format Defined If you’re not going to follow any of those links, please note- anything you ripped off of You Tube or the like will sound like shit, period. Also, not ever audio file you purchase is high quality. If you have a long version of your act, and a short version, include both in the folder and label them clearly: PrincessSnickelbritches_RedRoseAct_6mincut    By labeling your files clearly instead of: PSremixR2 , you are insuring the sound engineer, dj, or producer knows exactly what music goes with whom- and they will love you for it!
  • Promotional Images Include both high res and low res images of you performing the act live, and studio shots of you in costume. Label them: PrincessSnickelbritches_RedRoseAct_photobyNeilPatrickHarris2015 Not sure what high or low res means? The Do’s and Don’ts of Publicity Images for Entertainers Don’t have images of you in that costume yet? Go with your most universal promo shot: both headshot and full length.
  • Your blocking notes These can be as simple or complex as you need, but should define whatever props you have and where they need to be placed on stage, any additional theater equipment you will require (IE: Fog Machine) and your lighting preferences. While every venue will not be able to accommodate such requests, you have it ready for those producers/venues who will.Untitled-7
  • Media Clips/Video/Quotes: Any media quotes or links about the act that the producer can use to promote should also be included. You may screenshot each piece, or simply create a text file that includes all of the links. If you have video of the act, include a link to it as well.
  1. Use a file sharing program such as Google Docs or DropBox to house all of these folders. The next time you are booked for an act, you simply send the producer a link to the folder of each act booked, and viola! S/he has everything they will need and you saved yourself a ton of time!
  2. Repeat steps 1 & 2 to create a “memory jog” for yourself. You may make notes on choreography, and photograph each costume piece/prop, so you can re-fresh your memory if it’s been a while since you performed that act.
  3. Feeling super inspired?! Repeat 1-4 for all of your acts!

Costume Storage:

There are many different options here. Choose the one that’s best for you, based on space available and your specific costuming pieces.  Two things are true for every method: Make sure your costume pieces are *completely dry* when you put them away. Secondly, get in the habit of checking each piece for damage/ missing hooks, buttons, etc. before you store them. If you fix the damage before storing them, you will always be ready at a moment’s notice to grab your costume and go!

Method 1: Hang up the outer parts of the costume and use a large re-sealable plastic storage bag for the small pieces like bra and undies. Include extras like stocking and safety thong. Medium bag for shoes (shoes on panties is weird to me). Use a small bag for jewelry as to not cause snags. (Wrapping your necklace like a rubber band around a larger object like a hair rat or pair of socks will prevent tangles in the jewelry.) Sore the smallest bags in the largest bag and clip to the costume hanger, or pierce with hanger hook. Now all you have to do is grab the hanger and go!

Method 2: Most costumes can be stored quite nicely in a box. Store bras cup side up and petticoats can be rolled into a tight sausage and secured with rubber bands – don’t worry it will fluff right up when shaken! (Not true for pettis that need starching) Panel skirts are best rolled (folding can leave lines).


The debate is in which storage box to use:

-The pros to a cardboard hatbox are they are breathable, easy to carry by the handle, and you can get them as plain and cheap or ornate and adorable as you wish. With a simple label on the outside, you are ready to go!

-Plastic boxes are favored because they are easy to see through, making it difficult to make grabbing mistakes. However, if you use plastic, you may want to use some silica gel packets from previous purchases, to help keep the contents dry, and throw in a scented sachet to keep everything smelling fresh.

– Packing Cubes are the best of both worlds- breathable, see-through, yet still compact.

Have some great costume storage tips?  Share them in the comments below!

Now that you’re organized, want more?  Freya West’s Tips on Packing Light ; Tips on Building an Effective Website

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