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FAQ You! Are you a professional?

When does a performer become a ?Professional??

Having a professional attitude or approach to a thing is not necessarily what makes it your ‘profession’. When something is your profession, it is implied that this is your main source of earning and what you have specifically dedicated your training to.

Those who perform as a hobby aren’t any less ‘professional’ in their conduct. It’s just that their ban balance isn’t reliant on the earnings. Those with valued vocations, who conduct themselves in an efficient, respectable manner are just as likely to be hired as those whose profession it is.

This is a complicated issue but it is essentially about being realistic in terms of the many different factors which contribute to ?professionalism?. There are no exact black and white criteria and different professions require different factors.

Overall, we can generally agree that to be a professional anything, there are two key factors involved:

1-  Having the specialised knowledge or skill required.

As such, some professions are regulated or standardized in some way (i.e. accountancy, teaching and medicine) which makes it easy for us to identify and accredit professional labels to people. However, some industries (like burlesque, art or writing) are either too niche or defy a set of ?rules? to be obviously standardized in a meaningful way.

2- Being able to earn a living from it (and then paying appropriate taxes on those earnings).

To pursue something ?professionally? implies pursuit of financial gain and so to be a ?professional? you would need to first of all, be in a position to earn a meaningful income i.e. you get enough interest because of your ethic, attitude, reputation etc.

As a result, professionalism in the entertainment industries tends to be judged most heavily on income and personal reputation merits such as attitude and ability.

Amateur and Proud! Being an ?amateur? doesn?t imply a lower standard of work or a poor attitude. Not at all. The difference can simply be down to choice. The word amateur simply means that the person does not (or does not intend to) earn money from their pursuits.  After all, Sherlock Holmes (the greatest detective of all time..) classes himself as an ?Amateur Detective? and many of the greatest sportspeople are classed as amateur purely because they do not get paid for the actual playing of their sport. An ?amateur artist? may simply indicate the pursuit of a person of leisure and independent wealth, thus the title is in no way indicative of a lower level of talent. In fact, some people rightly use it with a sense of ?pride?.

Being a professional anything doesn?t make a person an expert in any way. In fact often is the case that the amateur enthusiast is the one bagging the 10,000 hours of practice required to justify a claim to be ?expert?. This is a general criteria which applies to all things, not just burlesque!

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FAQ You! Finding Teachers

Where can I find reputable teachers?

Taking up lessons from reputable teachers is an excellent way to start out, but do research your options ? the person who happens to be most local or inexpensive may not be the best choice.  There is no ?standarisation? or regulatory body to ensure safety and even basic skill. Be careful in choosing a class to attend as it?s not just you money that counts ? it?s your quality of learning, fun, health and safety too. With the rise in popularity of burlesque, more and more people are looking to join in the on-stage fun. This has seen a concomitant increase in people offering to give ?burlesque lessons?, not all of whom are in a position to honestly do so. MoB are available for consultation and direction and reputable teachers are available through our Coaching services.

Here are some pointers based on community feedback and experience. My hope is that you can learn from others? mishaps:

The diversity of the genre. Burlesque is a diverse genre involving many skills, styles and should be available to everyone. Any teacher who seems to be selling their particular specialty (i.e. striptease) as burlesque, has misunderstood what they are purporting to teach. How are they going to address characterization? Prop comedy? Making satire accessible? If the title of the class is literally wrong, we can be confident that the content will fall short too.

 The importance of insured, experienced and qualified instructors cannot be emphasized enough. You are likely to be engaging in moderate to upbeat exercise and teachers must be properly trained, insured and knowledgeable about the possibility of injury or strain. Your specific needs and any limitations of movement are important in your learning – and must be considered by any instructor. Also, be wary of anyone who uses any kind of ?self-confidence coaching? psychobabble without appropriate certification or experience ? they could be doing you more harm than good.

 How experienced are they – really? Make sure your prospective teacher also has adequate experience themselves in the burlesque world. You will want to ask for advice on putting your new skills in to action, and your first steps toward building a good reputation are crucial.

Ask any teacher about their own successful careers as Burlesque performers ? i.e. how many years experience have they specifically in this genre? Have they travelled internationally? Whom do they work with? Which reputable agencies can provide corroboration of this? None? Oh dear?

 Burlesque is a craft ? not an adjective applied to any random class featuring a feather boa or buzzwords. The importance of having both teaching experience and performing experience are not to be underestimated. How will a teacher provide you with direction and advice if they have none to give?

Do ask for specifics, don?t be shy. Any genuine instructor will be thrilled that you are taking your education seriously enough to ask.

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Ironic Fundamentalism: The hilarious truth about existence

What IF… The nature of the universe is paradoxical? Ironic Fundamentalism is an upbeat approach to life which embraces a universal paradoxical awareness. This way we harness a sense of ?ironic humour? about ourselves, the universe and everything – one that leads us to answer the big questions – that lie unconsciously beneath our anxieties.
With IF, we can be free of Anxiety in every day life ? and also, continue to transcend our suffering toward Enlightenment.
IF holds a few key IFFY principles that help us challenge our thinking:

?Reality is the bitch-slap of belief.? What we think about things is generally bollocks. All we know is that we don?t really ?know? anything. We are always looking through a lens, subject to bias, perspectively challenged.

“Controversy is the drive behind social evolution.” It is our conscious duty to actively explore those daunting ideas which are controversial and with a non-judgement mindset, we seek to evaluate the causes of those controversies – that is, the unbiased honest acceptance of a world that isn?t made up of ?right and wrong? but contrasting perspectives and biases.

?Anxiety: it?s nothing to worry about.? Literally we worry about everything that is past or potential future calamities and fail to realise that we only ever exist in the ?now?. We are distracted by worries about everything and fail to see that everything is actually no-thing.

This project is to support the sharing of IFFY ideas and advice.