Life Perspectives

My Life in Burlesque: Reflecting (While Scantily Clad)

The following is like a Christmas letter, only with boobs.

On May 24 of last year, I embarked on my first paid burlesque performance as the ribbon dancer in Temple of Boobs: An Indiana Jones Burlesque at Gorilla Tango Burlesque. I’d also recently been cast as an apprentice in The Kiss Kiss Cabaret.

Indiana Jones Ribbon Dance
Photo courtesy of Gorilla Tango Burlesque

A little over a year later, I have:

Developed four solo acts (and am working on a fifth).

Glitterbomb solo 5914
Photo by Trevor Kelley

Learned eight group numbers (working on nine and ten right now).

Photo by Trevor Kelley
Photo by Trevor Kelley

Originated one role (Ma Boobs in You Have Died of Sexy: An Oregon Trail Burlesque).

Oregon Trail closing night
Photo by Petra Cantzler

Picked up two new tracks (Willie in Temple of Boobs and Commissioner Gordon/Egghead in Holy Bouncing Boobies! A Batman Burlesque).

Glitterbomb as Egghead
Photo by Linnea Ridolfi

Participated in six photo shoots.

GTB 2014 Calendar - Star Wars
Find the Glitterbomb!
Photo by Braden Nesin

Picked up approximately 43,165 underthings.

Emma Glitterbomb KKC Cigarette Girl
Photo by Trevor Kelley

Now, that is FAR less than most of my contemporaries have achieved. In terms of burlesque, I’m still a baby. Honestly, I might always be a baby in this game. There are always going to be women thinner, prettier, sparklier and more fabulous than I. I’ll never, ever be the most awesome burly-girl in the room.

That said, I am largely okay with that.

Here are some things I’ve learned in the past year:

Which brings me to a recent revelation I had: burlesque is one of many things I do. I also work full-time and as a writer. I’d started questioning whether I was devoting too much time to burlesque (while also feeling INCREDIBLY WORRIED that I wasn’t devoting enough time to burlesque). After a much-needed vacation, I vowed to devote more energy to writing.

And then I got cast in another nerdlesque show. I really could not turn down Return of the Jedi. Especially since it means understudying Han Solo and Princess Leia. Two words: Metal. Bikini.

han solo jedi
I mean…

As I enter my second year as a professional burlesque performer, I’ll also be writing — doing freelance work, trying to get my fiction out there into the world, and chronicling the ups, downs, and reveals of this always-fascinating, always-glittery culture. It’s all about the balance, baby.

Oh, and remember how I said that validation isn’t everything? I have to admit, reviews like this one are pretty cool:

Repeatedly promised to get a glimpse of the cigarette girl’s skills, Emma Glitterbomb finally settled the anticipation when she started the second half of the show.  Although very stunning in her uniform from before, Emma upped the ante coming out scantily dressed in a black brazier and see-through underwear, complimented with lacey stockings. Engaging in perhaps a classic chair dance, her sensual movements were singularly provocative. Emma Glitterbomb is a show-stealer! –, “The Kiss Kiss Cabaret Keep’em Coming Back…”

Show-stealer? Okay, then.

I’ll be performing with both KKC and GTB this summer, and would love to see you there! For details and discounts, leave a comment, message me or email

By Emma Glitterbomb

Emma Glitterbomb is a burlesque dancer in Chicago. Writer by day and vixen by night, she's a proud company member of Gorilla Tango Burlesque and a founding member of Madame Hatter's Moonlight Marauders. Emma has danced with Beast Women, the Better Boobie Bureau, Festival of Flesh, the Kiss Kiss Cabaret, the comedy show Menage a Hah! and the blues band Miss Jackie and the Sass. Say bonjour at eglitterbomb(at)gmail(dot)com.

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