Choosing a Stage Name — July 2009

I need a burlesque name. I have researched and found these ridiculous formulas or generators for creating your burlesque name but I end up with names like Freckles McDermand Blvd, or Lil’ Comfort Bandersnatch (I did not make that up) . How can I find something original and, well, not like the names I just listed? Daisy, Michigan

Dear Daisy,

I think coming up with a burlesque performer name just might be the hardest part about beginning your burlesque career. It’s important, because it’s your verbal calling card, as well as a way to thwart stalkers from finding your address and stealing your underwear. How do you manage to come up with the perfect name that is catchy and describes your personality and style for the rest of your career? No pressure, huh? My first suggestion would be to get a yahoo account and join the “Burlesque Stage Names” group. This group has a database of burlesque performer names registered by the performers themselves. This list compiles the troupe names, the performer names, and the years the names have been in use. This list is by no means a complete list of the names used by performers to date, as the database relies on the performer to register his/her name. It is also one of the places you should check your burlesque name against once you have decided on your stage name. You may peruse the name registry to get an idea of other names used and the trends. I would come up with name that describes you as a performer and lends a nod to the type of burlesque that you intend to perform. Classic performers often use sexy words, other languages, cultural references, or add a predicate to their last name like De or Von. Many dancers choose names that reflect their “biography” they invent for their stage personas which could be loosely based on your own past and genealogy! Some performers even hold onto a part of their real name and substitute a stage name for half of their own.

Photo: Through the Looking Glass
Photo: Through the Looking Glass

Your performer name is not something to be taken lightly. Your performance is your business, so your name is your brand. Definitely research names, think about your personality and style, check out some sexy foreign or English words, and make a list of possible names. It will come to you. You will know it when you see it.

Lastly, once you have settled on a name, check it against the Burlesque Names database, as well as use search engines to check for other dancers using the same name. Adding the word “burlesque” into the search after your new name will help narrow down the search to only burlesque dancers.

-Black Mariah

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