Masterclass with Catherine D’Lish

Two weeks ago, I attended Catherine D’Lish’s Masterclass. After the class, I was blown away, body and mind.

*This is an attempt to translate my french article, so sorry for my english*

My idol

Last year, I have seen the New Burlesque Cabaret. It was the first time I saw Catherine D’Lish on stage and it was truly magic. She was first performing in her amazing spider web, then bathing in her champaign glass.

I was amazed : so much grace, perfect poses, graceful gesture, gorgeous hair.

I was also very impressed by her maturity. I mean, she didn’t attempt to look like a hot teenager. She had the elegance and confidence of a mature woman, and it was really inspiring.

 What I learned

Here is a small anthology of what Catherine D’Lish told us.

“Don’t be a character”

René Gruau - Le masque
René Gruau – Le masque

Someone asked : “How to work on my Character? How to be more convincing on stage?”. She simply answered:”Don’t be a character. I don’t want to see a character on stage, I want to see someone”.

She explained that too many people are good enough at acting to convince the audience that they are sexy, or dangerous, or sweet… It’s much more entertaining to see a person on stage than somebody trying to be somebody else.

I remember Miss Marion asked performers about their feeling on stage concerning their identity and a lot of them talked about a “free self”, a “super hero” part of themselves, a “Mr hyde” who wants to express himself.

“Don’t be like the others”

Paris Conservatory 1948 Photo: Anonymous
Paris Conservatory 1948

I asked Catherine how to pose like a classic 1950’s pin up :

“Well, take the pose which looks best on you. Everybody is different and even if something looks good on someone, it may not look good on you. You have to twist everything that inspire you to make them look good on your body”.

Okay… Since I am pretty longilineal, I will look at Liane de Pougy pictures!

“Make everything a thing”

For each burlesque act, there is this touchy part when you have to catch a prop, or to take off a tricky part of your outfit… And very often, performers hope the audience will not look at them at this moment.

Instead of being ashamed and making quick and messy steps, Catherine D’Lish invite us to make of each transition an amazing part of the show. Does she look embarrassed when she climb to the top of her champaign glass?

It sounds obvious but it is much more comfortable to act as if nobody was looking at us during these moments, isn’t it?

The main idea behind it is : “Make it big! If you choose to do this, do it a 100%”. Big meaning conscient and plain, not fast and messy.

“The audience is happy to see you, be happy to see them”

Le public déchaîné des Beatles
Beatles’beasty audience

Someone asked how to be more relax on stage. She answered: “Be happy to be on stage and to see the audience because the audience is happy to see you!”

A long time ago, a friend told me quite the same thing before I was going on stage : “Entertain us, we are here to have fun watching you!”. It was one of the best advice ever!

“Think everything you touch is a penis”

During my private class, she wanted me to catch a part of my lucky star outfit. She showed me how to do it but I was not so good at it. So she simply told me : “Think everything you touch is a penis”. First I was a bit surprised, but thinking about it, I think it is a brilliant idea to make each move more glamourous. Isn’t it?



Catherine D’Lish gave us some homework :

  • Find and work on 10 different ways of walking for being more entertaining while moving across the stage.
  • Spend hours looking at yourself in a mirror to find the best poses and attitudes.
  • Open your chest and relax your shoulders, they are the first part of your body that will suffer from stress.
1900s. French postcard.
1900s. French postcard.

So many things to work on… Thanks Catherine for all these advices!

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