I threw my broken shoes aside and jumped into the middle

monique aislabie

Here comes a little story that warms my heart every time I think back on it… During the summer I was invited to do a workshop at the Pangea Festival.  They wanted me to not only teach Burlesque but also have a self-love and confidence building element to it as well – great just my thing!

They gave me the Friday morning time slot, which I was slightly nervous about because 11am at a festival is not usually known as sexy time.  11am at a Festival is usually the time when I roll out of my tent looking like Gollum from Lord of the Rings, hissing “Where are my precious sunglasses, give this beast some coffee or I’ll bite”.  With this in mind I said to myself – ok I will forgive those that can’t make it because they are still in the morning Gollum phase and I will be happy if there are around five people attending. If there is less than five then I have to admit that I will be a little disappointed, but I will rock it anyway! 

When I arrived at the workshop location (the Station Endlos) to set up there were already five girls waiting.  My heart breathed a sigh of relief, ok at least I have hit my attendance goal 🙂 

We had some technical problems with the music and then on top of that my shoe broke.  I was so busy fussing around with these things when I finally looked up to start the workshop there was a big crowd gathered.  Wow great – I threw my broken shoes aside and jumped into the middle and shouted at the top of my voice “Are you ready for some BURLEEEEEEESQUE?!?!?!” and yes indeed they were.  The atmosphere that we created in this beautiful space was electric and my students were radiant.  

As a part of the self-love section of the workshop I designed a few little games to play.  There was one that particularly stood out for me because the result was more than I could have imagined.  I split the group up into two lines. I told them to look across to the other side and blow a kiss to the person standing opposite to you.  Then I told them to walk towards this person, and when you get to them you will give them a compliment about a special feature you noticed about them.  But this exercise was not about giving compliments it was about the importance of opening yourself up to receiving, believing and absorbing them.  When the two lines came together WOW what an amazing result !!! The whole line was buzzing with laughter, tears, hugs, love and more laughter.  It was magical.

In the end there was around 100 people dancing clapping and cheering for each other as they all had a turn strutting their stuff like a shining showgirl down the middle of the line.  In the end this turned out to be the biggest workshop a have taught in my 10 years of teaching.  I’m so blessed and forever grateful to arrive at a point in my career where I can jump in there and empower that many people at one time, it was an experience I will never forget.

A BIG BIG big thank you to Magdalena Schnitzler for bringing me there!  To the team at Pangea for being open to trying a Burlesque workshop, and to my wing woman Lisa Riegel for taking photos and supporting my all the way!