Since opening its doors in 2012, the Philadelphia Burlesque Academy has prided itself on being a place of learning, inclusion, art and innovation.
In February, they are continuing this tradition with their Master Class Virtual Black History Month Series.
Curated by Sophie Sucre of the Philadelphia Burlesque Academy, the five-class series includes teaching artists and performers at the top of their art. During classes, they will share best practices, how they are maintaining their art form, how they are able to connect the creative process and the process of bringing together the right elements.
“The academy is always trying to make sure that we are passing the line in terms of who has the opportunity to provide knowledge and wisdom. I think the academy, outside of the special initiatives, has really worked hard to ensure that it has a diverse list of teachers, teachers from all over the country, teachers of all shapes and sizes, as well as teachers of all races and backgrounds ”, Sucre said.
In celebration of Black History Month, they have special prices for BIPOC (Blacks, Indians and People of Color). Thanks to donations from the local burlesque community, classes are free for BIPOC participants and $ 25 for general admission.
“In this Black History Month in particular, we saw an opportunity to ensure that those of us who have difficulty accessing classes, especially masterclasses, where the fee may be slightly higher than the normal class, could attend. We wanted to make sure that those who would benefit the most, those we should honor, had no barrier to entering the class, ”said the artist.
So far, they have taught three classes this month, with two more in the series. Classes are open to all skill levels, even for beginners. They cover everything from makeup to movement. Most classes are on Wednesdays with the last class in the series on Saturday, February 27.
“We started with Heartless Malone and her liquid motion class, the next local actress Vinchelle gave her‘ How to Get Showcase Ready ’class. They did an amazing job of really helping the performers to understand the importance of how you create space from the contour, the skin preparation, everything from skin preparation to applying makeup, understanding the hue and color, especially for people of color, you know, understanding color and pigmentation. This class was followed by Introduction to Acrobatics with Pinot Noir, an artist from Seattle, ”said Sucre.
She said that even if you miss the first classes, there is a lot to expect.
“We have a class with Adrianna Poindexter, the director of Hot Damn, a troupe of cabaret artists based in Philadelphia, she will teach high heels movement. Let’s end the month with ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ with spices!
It will really highlight the importance of the hips and how the hips and movement can tell stories. She will also address the movement technique, understanding what her hips are capable of and how it can really encourage and add a lot of texture and dynamics to her work, ”said Sucre.
Masterclass teacher Adrianna Poindexter said she grabbed the chance to teach a class, as representation in the arts is a cause that is in her heart.
“It is very important to have teachers from different lifestyles, teaching different styles. And I also think that it is very important for other BIPOC artists in the community to see themselves in the instructors they are learning from. Especially when it is an industry that could see more people of color and could use more opportunities for black artists, indigenous artists and all other artists of color, ”said Poindexter.
She said that with increasing opportunities for people of color, now is the time to shine.
“There’s a wave of change going on, especially with everything in 2020. It’s definitely late because these artists have been there all this time, but I’m happy that at least now people are making changes and saying ‘we really need to change the way we are doing things ‘. Things really needed to change, ”said Poindexter.
For a complete list of classes at the Philadelphia Burlesque Academy and more information about the Master Class Virtual Black History Month Series, visit Philadelphiaburlesqueacademy.com