The One The Only Inga has been teaching at the Academy since 2009.
For a list of dance and fitness classes currently in session, please visit our Fun and Sexy Fitness page.
Over its long and varied history, burlesque has been influenced by many different forms of art and movement, including ballet, jazz and modern dance. Many burlesque performers have come to it from the dance world, and here to talk about how her dance training influences her burlesque performing is Academy instructor The One The One Inga.
Inga, or Mrs. Inga, as her Ballet students know her, teaches dance and fitness classes at the Academy in addition to our core Burlesque curriculum.
AOB: How does your dance training influence your burlesque?
Inga: Burlesque is a form of movement in and of itself – you don’t need to have formal dance training in order to perform it. Having dance training has given me another movement vocabulary that I can approach burlesque movement from.
Sometimes dancers can look almost too refined doing burlesque. A dance background can give a certain amount of polish to burlesque performers, but it can also detract from the human, raw grittiness of this form. I’ve tried not to be a super dancy burlesque performer, but I also can’t always help it! It’s the way my brain tells my body to move because it was drilled into me as a child.
The most helpful things I’ve gained from my training is an awareness of my body and a strong sense of musicality. When I want my body to look a certain way in relationship to my music, I can make it happen.
AOB: You touched on this a bit, but do you have to have a dance background to do Burlesque?
Inga: It can be helpful to have some kind of movement background going into burlesque, but it doesn’t have to be dance. If you’ve done yoga, or Zumba, or anything that’s gotten you in touch with your body so that you can dance to a beat, learn steps, make your body move a certain way, that’s helpful.
If you want to look like a “dancer” on stage, then yes, traditional ballet is of course very helpful. But if you want to go onstage and be super dirty, just bring your own personal dirt! It doesn’t have to have anything to do with ballet.
AOB: Why should people take dance classes if they haven’t done it before?
Inga: Dance is just fun. it’s fun to do, it’s fun to challenge yourself with. Learning things in a dance class can be humbling but also very satisfying. You can physically see your accomplishments so fast. You get more in touch with your body, get in shape and have fun doing it!
AOB: You also teach Fitness classes at the Academy. What does fitness mean to you, and how does it relate to the experience of performing burlesque?
Inga: Burlesque-inspired fitness at The Academy means something different than fitness in other places. In burlesque we are not interested in creating or having identical “gym bodies” . . . . to be honest, we don’t care about that at all. We’re more about getting in touch your body in fun and sassy new ways. My goal in my fitness classes is to help people get comfortable with their bodies moving–being physical and active while doing something that is really enjoyable, empowering, and also challenging. At the end of a session of classes, I want my students to feel great and know they’ve accomplished something awesome.
Everyone’s body will change throughout the stages of their life. What’s important is to have a strong sense of self, to be healthy and active, and to feel sexy no matter what stage your body’s in right now. A gym body may last a few years, but feeling solid and sexy within yourself will last forever.
Finally, burlesque is really a solo art form, so what makes you different and unique–in both your body and your personality–is what makes you special in burlesque. We don’t want that to go away! We want you to explore the uniqueness of yourself and your body.