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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Get On Your Knees and Blow: Stage Kittening Secrets

Guilted Lilly

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 burlesque 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 the best of the best!


In this class, we will explore:

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

-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

-tricks of the trade: special tips, tricks, and little-known secrets that make your role as kitten easier, including making an "Oh Sh!t Kit"

-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 that make you feel sexy, just because life is more fun that way. A playfully mischievous attitude is encouraged, but not necessary. 😘


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



Red Velvet
May 5, 2023, 9 a.m. - 10 a.m. - Upstairs Theater

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!


Red Velvet
May 5, 2023, 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. - Upstairs Theater


Come, join us for happy hour at the barre!!  The dance barre that is!  Up your movement skills by focusing on leg, ankle, and foot strength and full-body alignment.  This class will include a gentle warm up and then focus on floor barre and standing barre exercises.  Wake up your body, stretch and strengthen your muscles, and connect your body from toe tip to the top of your head.  While prior dance experience will make this class easier, the class is suitable for all experience levels and many of the exercises can be modified to be completed sitting or lying on the floor. 

This class is one hour and 12 minutes.  We spend time on various floor barre movements, with a focus on body alignment and strengthening muscles in the legs, abs, and back.  Then we will come to standing and the rest of the class will focus on standing barre movements, including foot exercises, leg lifts, kicks, pleas and releves, and stretches. 

The class objective is to learn floor and standing barre exercises to strengthen and stretch various muscle groups.

The student should wear comfortable clothes suitable for movement.  No shoes are necessary. 

Miss Mina Murray
May 5, 2023, 11 a.m. - noon - Class room 2

Who were the women who shaped the Golden Age of burlesque and inspired today's performers? Burlesque historian Miss Mina takes you on a lively trip through history, highlighting some of the influential performers in burlesque from Victorian Era to the 1950's during this fun slideshow and talk.

Red Velvet
May 5, 2023, 11 a.m. - noon - Class room 1

In this class designed for beginner crafters/pastie makers we will discuss different options for crafting your own pasties.  We will discuss glues, fabrics, and covering options.  We will also discuss pastie patterns and use of pattern templates.  We will also discuss the inclusion of tassels in your design, the benefits of using a removable tassel, different hardware options for removable tassels, and different types of tassels to make or purchase. 

Bring a notebook and pen or other method for taking notes and all of your questions!!

Muff Jones
May 5, 2023, 11 a.m. - noon - Upstairs Theater

This all levels class is built around body appreciation, movement with intention, and energy placement. Students will learn how to awaken and reconnect with their erotic power through sensual movement, dance, gratitude, and music. This class incorporates Burlesque elements: slow burn, light floorwork, grindwork, and eye/body fuckery. Layered moveable clothing, socks, and hydration are a must.

Scarlett Letter
May 5, 2023, noon - 1 p.m. - Class room 2

"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.

Mr. Scratch
May 5, 2023, noon - 1 p.m. - Class room 1

As performers and artists, how do we deal with criticism, critiques and rejection, in a productive way?

Burlesque is a deeply personal art for many practitioners.  With so much invested in our performance, how do we differentiate between commentary on our act and commentary on our selves? This course teaches effective communication techniques from tone to word choice for giving and receiving feedback in a positive light.  We’ll also discuss using negative experiences like festival rejections as springboards for creativity and reinvigoration, and explores a variety of solutions to common traps we fall into when receiving feedback.

Betty Blaize
May 5, 2023, noon - 1 p.m. - Upstairs Theater

A classic topic - what's a great act without some classic moves?  Pulling from Betty's 20 years of belly dance and Burlesque experience, we'll dig into the classics of Burlesque hip and chest moves.  Class will start with the basics of how to do these moves cleanly and how to situate them within a classic Burlesque number, and will move on to tips, tricks and ways to make it all more beautifully complicated depending on the comfort of the students.

Please wear clothes you can move in.  If your clothing is loose around your hips, please bring a scarf or something else to tie around your hips.  Dance friendly shoes or bare feet are welcome.


Mr. Scratch
May 5, 2023, 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. - Upstairs Theater

This engaging seminar is for anyone who moves or communicates from stage: hosts, comedians, and (of course) dancers.

Learn about the Delsarte System of Expression, which introduces how different regions of the body and types of movement convey Mental, Moral-Emotive, and Vital eneegies. Students will develop a heightened awareness of the nuances of body language and learn how even a small change, like using a different finger to lead a gesture, can powerfully alter its meaning. 

By the end of this seminar, students will have gained a solid grounding in the basic principals of the Delsarte System of Expression and its potential to transform their self-expression in various areas of life.

Please wear comfortable clothing you can move in and expect to remove your shoes.  This class is suitable for students of all levels of mobility, and no dance experience is required.

Red Velvet
May 5, 2023, 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. - Class room 2

Want rhinestones but feeling overhwelmed?  This class is for you!  We will talk about types of rhinestones, brands of rhinestones, and the pitfalls and benefits of various types of rhinestone application!  Beginner Level Class

Ava Fox
May 5, 2023, 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. - Class room 1

Overcome your fear and make friends with your sewing machine!

Learn how to:

  • Wind a bobbin
  • Thread a sewing machine
  • Adjust tension (when and why)
  • Select stitches
  • Get sewing!
  • Troubleshoot sewing problems
  • And basic sewing machine maintenance
Ava Fox
May 5, 2023, 2 p.m. - 3 p.m. - Class room 1

Do you want to make your own costume pieces, but have no idea where to begin? Has it been many years since you've sewn something and you'd like a refresher? Join Ava and go back to the basics!

We will cover:

  • Taking measurements and choosing a pattern size
  • Reading a pattern
  • Seam allowances
  • Fabric Grain
  • Seam finishes
  • And more!
Miss Mina Murray
May 5, 2023, 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. - Class room 2

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!

Margo Mayhem
May 5, 2023, 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. - Upstairs Theater

It's time to get down - on the floor, that is! We'll be learning transitions to and from the ground, flexibility cheats, and floor moves to wow the crowd. Whether you’re an absolute beginner or trying to hone your skills, this class will add some more bump to your floor grind.

All levels, genders, and body types welcome.

Heels recommended but not required.

Students should wear clothes that they can move in.

Betty Blaize
May 5, 2023, 3 p.m. - 4 p.m. - Class room 1

Focusing in on the power of a vintage eye look and various ways to pump it up for an onstage look, Betty will be bringing 20 years of glamorous make up skills to bear in a hands on eye makeup tutorial.  The look we'll be working on is based on a vintage 1940s look that gives a natural looking pop to the eyes.  We'll then look at ways to add drama and false eyelashes to super size it for stage performance.

Class will cover shopping tips, application, tricks for pesky problems and makeup hygiene.

This is a hands on participation class.  Watchers are welcome, but folks with makeup are highly encouraged to come and play - it's way fun!

If you want to recreate the look Betty will be teaching, please bring:

  • 3 colors of shadow - a very pale brown or cream (lighter than skin tone), and two coordinating colors of brown darker and lighter.
  • 1 dark liner - brown or black
  • Eyelashes - either glue on or magnetic
  • Equipment needed:
    • Eye shadow brushes - 1-3 varying sizes
  • Optional for add-on fabulosity - eye lash curler, brow shadow, white liner/cuticle liner, mascara

Betty will have plenty to share of:

  • Makeup remover wipes
  • Tissues
  • Small Mirrors


Betty Blaize
May 6, 2023, 9 a.m. - 10 a.m. - Upstairs Theater

In this workshop Betty Blaize will lead you through active listening and dance exercises to help diversify your movement and choreography. Students will work on ear training to gain a deeper awareness of song layers and how to move between them naturally and intentionally in their acts. By learning more about musicality, performers can provide more impactful reveals, powerful accents and surprising moments in their performances. A portion of the class will be seated and a portion will be active with movement and choreography. Please wear a comfortable outfit and bring a shirt that opens in the front for a reveal. You do not need a background in music to take this workshop and it is open to all levels. Great thanks to Stormy Divine for originally proposing this class. Betty Blaize is stepping in as an experienced substitute teacher, with a strong background as musician, choreographer and dancer with a diverse background.
Ava Fox
May 6, 2023, 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. - Class room 1

Sketch and create your own harness design.
Learn how to:

  • Choose your elastic
  • Develop a design
  • Connect elastics in multiple ways
  • Install sliders to provide a better fit

Fee includes elastic in various colors, rings, sliders, and closures.

Muff Jones
May 6, 2023, 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. - Upstairs Theater

This workshop focuses on finishing full lines of movement, body awareness, and holding space. Students will participate in polishing drills as well as learning controlled movement to help with muscle memory to enlarge your presence on stage. This class incorporates Burlesque elements of parade and pose. Heels and hydration are highly recommended.

Mr. Scratch
May 6, 2023, 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. - Class room 2

No matter how punctual, experienced, or skilled you are , if you don't get paid you are by definition an amateur. This 60-minute class covers the secrets of marketing yourself, setting your rates, contract negotiation, how to get booked, and the all-important art of getting the re-booking. An essential class for anyone who wants to earn money performing burlesque! Please bring any sales collateral (business cards, advertising fliers, branded give-aways, etc.) which you may have.

Scarlett Letter
May 6, 2023, 11 a.m. - noon - Class room 2

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, differnet styles of show adn structures, and a discussion about marketing in different markets. Handouts will be available in person or electronically. 

Miss Mina Murray
May 6, 2023, 11 a.m. - noon - Class room 1

In burlesque we need our costume to stay securely on until the moment it has to effortlessly come off. There are so many kinds of closures, from the simple to the esoteric. Master costumer Miss Mina Murray will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of costume closures, from adhesive to zippers. Hand-on examples will be provided!

Muff Jones
May 6, 2023, 11 a.m. - noon - Upstairs Theater

Getting more “work on your face” feedback than you want? Having a hard time evoking emotion on stage? Acting is a part of performance and yes too, Burlesque. This is a movement and acting class that teaches each student to learn and connect facial expressions and body movement through emotion with the help of our animal friends persona’s. Get ready to get out of your comfort zones and out into the wild.

Ruby Rider
May 6, 2023, noon - 1 p.m. - Class room 2

Have you ever been preparing for a show and had someone ask you - what kind of lighting do you want? And you didn't know how to answer them? Then this class is for you! 

In this class I will give a quick and dirty introduction to the world of stage lighting, including teaching you how to converse with designers and techies so you can help them help you and make your performance shine!

Devastasia, Jeannie Martini
May 6, 2023, noon - 1:30 p.m. - Class room 1

Do you have a blah bra? Let Jeannie Martini and Devastasia show you how to dress to your champagne taste -- even when you've got a beer budget. Students will learn different techniques for designing and embellishing a bra. Please bring a bra you wish to decorate; started or not!
Samson Night
May 6, 2023, noon - 1:30 p.m. - Upstairs Theater

“Put Some Funk On It” will help level up your performances by taking commonly used dance moves and “putting YOUR funk” on them to make them your own! You will be taken through a choreographed routine using “basic” dance steps as we explore how to individualize them by infusing your personality into the steps so that you stand out, tell the story and have your audiences melting at your feet!

You have the Charisma, you have the act idea- now let’s put some Funk on those moves!

  • all levels Class!
  • Participants can wear clothes and footwear they feel comfortable moving in.
Ruby Rider
May 6, 2023, 1:30 p.m. - 3 p.m. - Upstairs Theater

This hands-on workshop will help participants to hone their acting skills and improve their visual storytelling in burlesque! By utilizing acting exercises and exploring character work through the lens of theatre, we will help you serve your best face!