How to Run a Burlesque Troupe

Information and advice for starting your own burlesque troupe.


  1. Image titled Run a Burlesque Troupe Step 1
    Start by thinking about how you are bringing this troupe together. Are you all friends with common interests? Or are you searching for people with a similar vision to perform with? Regardless, make sure that you as performers have equal say in of the creation and progress of your troupe. Troupes that involve every member in the creative process are much stronger in the long run. Not every idea will be used, but approaching each member's opinion with an open, receptive mind will make all the difference.
  2. Image titled Run a Burlesque Troupe Step 2
    Keep it small. Groups of three to five girls are probably big enough in the beginning. As your organization and skill for production improves, you can consider taking on more performers. Remember, the smaller the group, the easier it is to coordinate rehearsal times, workshops and show dates.
  3. Image titled Run a Burlesque Troupe Step 3
    Make sure you all have similar interests and a shared vision. Your road will be easier if you have this. Remember, it is incredibly important to have similar goals in mind when sourcing performers. Are you looking to tour, or are you rooted in one area? Is forming a troupe a potential business venture, or a simply hobby? It is important to have a uniting theme that ties performers in as members of the troupe, but variety is the spice of life. Showcasing each performer's individual talent is much more important than forcing conformity.
  4. Image titled Run a Burlesque Troupe Step 4
    Start finding out about possible performance opportunities. Are there any 'newbie' nights in your area for upcoming performers? Do you have friends/families that would let you do a private show and build up your set lists? Offering to stage kitten or help out at established shows can also be a foot in the door, though you should not presume to be asked to perform simply after selling a bit of merchandise!
  5. Image titled Run a Burlesque Troupe Step 5
    Think about whether or not you will need to set up a business name/ABN etc. A good rule of thumb is to operate for 6 months to 1 year and see what your financial situation is like and whether you want to consider this professionally. Talk to a business mentor or a tax representative to be sure.
  6. Image titled Run a Burlesque Troupe Step 6
    Operate with a business mentality. Even if you are only really a hobby group, think business wise. Create a brief business plan - think about how you are going to market yourself and make yourself individual. Check out your competitors and analyze, with an objective mind, what their strengths and weaknesses are and how your group will compare.
  7. Image titled Run a Burlesque Troupe Step 7
    Get online. Most successful businesses and groups have an online presence. The more places you are online and the more searchable you are the better success you will have at being hired. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all excellent. As far as creating a website, there are several free website builders with easy templates to help you get started. Make sure you create an email address specifically for your group to protect both your privacy and your inbox capacity!
  8. Image titled Run a Burlesque Troupe Step 8
    Photos. While on the subject of websites and emails, there is very little point getting online if you don't have photos or images to showcase your group. You only need a small budget and a little bit of imagination to get some great photos. Get a friend that is camera savvy and can take a good snap or offer TFP for emerging amateur photographers. Local photography forums may offer a step in the right direction. If you're inclined, you might only need to scout some good locations or invest some lighting and a backdrop to get a few good photos.
  9. Image titled Run a Burlesque Troupe Step 9
    Come up with a theme for your group. What sort of image do you want to have? This might evolve and change over the years, but in your initial stages what kind of look do you want? It comes back to your ideas about what burlesque is and what style you want to perform. Classic? Neo? You can get great costumes by perusing a local costume store, vintage or second hand stores, or online. Or if you have an act prepared, try getting some staged shots of it. Most importantly make sure the photos represent your group in a concise, creative way.
  10. Image titled Run a Burlesque Troupe Step 10
    Organisation can be tricky, especially managing schedules of different performers. It's likely you will all have your own ideas for acts and costumes so keep that very collaborative. That aside, work out your own strengths and weaknesses. Find someone that has time to deal with everyday emails/Facebook inquiries. You may find local artists willing and able to help create promotional material as well. Keeping each member of the troupe engaged in the building of a recognizable identity is important, so make sure everyone has a voice!
  11. Image titled Run a Burlesque Troupe Step 11
    Network. Build alliances with other performers. It's unlikely you will be able to run a show from start to finish with fewer than five members. Keep in mind, each act is typically 3-5 minutes long. Add comedians, MCs, dancers, actors, musicians to your friend list on Facebook. Keep a track of performers in your local area. Check out their shows and introduce yourself. Always keep a business card handy! You never know what may come of a chance run in.
  12. Image titled Run a Burlesque Troupe Step 12
    Have FUN! There's no need to stress. Keeping a light, positive attitude will ensure that everyone enjoys each step of the process. You may not be a Dita Von Teese, Immodesty Blaize or Kitten De Ville overnight, but keep in mind, neither were they! If you ever begin to feel as though the stress of producing shows and organizing other performers is too great, then solo performance may be the route for you. But overall make sure you behave professionally, explore the history of this incredible art form and have fun!


  • Respect your fellow performers - keep it civil.
  • Be organised.
  • A few well chosen pictures are more worthwhile!
  • Take burlesque classes and attend burlesque shows.
  • Introduce yourself to performers in your area and work collaboratively.
  • Performers need a similar concept of burlesque.

Article Info

Categories: Dancing | Talent Shows