Review; Bottoms Up Dance

Empowerment through Burlesque

By Neutral.Love

We at aren’t the best at dancing. We don't go out dancing that often and if we feel obligated to, we pull out the one dance move we have in out empty pockets - the simple yet ‘I’m not to into this’ side to side sway. So, being rhythmically challenged, a burlesque dance class was not something we would normally sign up for.


After seeing many testimonials about the power of burlesque, we spoke to Jacquie Thomas, the Head of Pole & Co-Director of Bottoms Up Dance, about how Burlesque can help to improve self-esteem and build body confidence.

You might be familiar with Jacquie by her performer name Sparkarella. She was one of the original founders and performers of the Voodoo Trash Dolls, one of the first neo-burlesque troupes in Australia.

"We were known as being neo-burlesque because we put in fire eating and live piercing and angle grinding and pole dancing." She laughs, "So, we were a bit shocking back in the day." Bottoms Up has many different kinds of classes, ranging in styles like classic burlesque, neo-burlesque and all kinds of pole dancing.

"You don't need any experience in any genre or anything to come along to a burlesque class," Jacquie says.

No need to buy a corset, or wear frilly underpants, "You wear leggings and you wear clothes you can freely move in."

"The basic burlesque class gives you an introduction to the bump and grind aspect of burlesque," Jacquie explains.

"So, it's combining basic moves, and then over the eight weeks they learn a full routine while also learning the basic fundamentals of the style as well."

Bottoms Up is an inclusive environment, whatever your gender or sexuality, you're welcome to attend classes.

Burlesque is not about the dance, it’s about the presence, and the act, it incorporates comedy; you don’t have to be a dancer to do burlesque.
— Jacquie Thomas

Don't be afraid to go by yourself, the Bottoms Up community is very supportive. "Our studio really has built a community of people, so you can walk in by yourself and walk out with a lot of friends."

On Halloween we attended a casual class at Bottoms Up Dance in Brunswick. The studio is tucked away up an alley, a white and black checkerboard floor and beautiful white lanterns leads into a dimly lit, bewitching entrance with a chandelier and pin-up style art. Here you are greeted by friendly staff and offered refreshments. The dance studios have big windows, and are lit with coloured lights. The atmosphere definitely put us at ease.

As it was Halloween, staff and dancers were dressed in their spookiest costumes. Justine was our teacher for this class, her performer name is Loli Box. She is well-versed in many dance styles including classical, jazz, tap, pole dancing and hip-hop. Today, she would be teaching us a burlesque dance routine using a chair. We began with a warm-up to Monster Mash before jumping into the sexy and scary choreography to Marilyn Manson's version of This is Halloween.

This class is billed as being perfect for beginners, and we’d have to agree. (As someone with no dance experience,) It wasn't too difficult to get the hang of, and although we are a little uncoordinated, we didn't fall flat on our face! Everyone was very supportive. While many people would be worried about attending a class like this by themselves, the supportive and friendly atmosphere calms your nerves quickly.


By the end of the class, we were pretty exhausted, it is certainly a great work-out, and although the moves were foreign to us, we started to get our groove on! Justine assured us, the more classes you attend the easier it becomes.

"We look at people coming in on week one and they're a bit excited but they've also got a lot of nervousness in them as well. To watch them blossom over the course of eight weeks is the most amazing thing," Jacquie says.

"It's just amazing, they become a lot more confident within themselves."

Jacquie explains upon seeing people of all ages, all shapes and sizes perform in burlesque shows, people can realise "that no matter what age or shape, their body can do amazing things and that in itself is very self-empowering."

Classes at Bottoms Up start at just $20, they also offer classes for Hens Dos. Head to their website for more information on classes and upcoming events.

Bottoms Up is giving a lucky Neutral.Love reader the chance to score two tickets (worth $70) to the upcoming end of year show, Museum After Dark, at Thornbury Theatre on the 10th of December. Head to our Instagram to find out how you can win the prize! For more info head to Bottoms Up Facebook page to find out more about the show or reserve your tickets now.