Welcome to my Blog and Burlesque Tips Series!
Have you ever wondered how to get into Burlesque or are you someone who's wanting to turn your art from a Hobby into a full time career? Then this is the space for you!
Hi everyone, my name is Gina Stirling, I'm a full time Burlesque Artist and Mentor. I'm originally from the UK, which is where I started my Burlesque journey over ten years ago, but I'm currently based in Melbourne, Australia. As well as performing, teaching is a huge component of what I love to do within my work, with the focus on body positivity and empowerment, sex positivity, community and creating a safe space for people of all genders, identities, skill levels and backgrounds to explore the art of Burlesque.
I thought I'd start my blog off with us getting to know each other, by sharing my own Burlesque journey and story. I look forward to connecting with you all.
Image by Nicola Grimshaw-Mitchell
Where it all began...
My mom put me into dance school when I was 2 years old, and I did my first musical when I
was six. I left school at age 16 to attend performing arts college, which was my first taste of being creative every day and being away from the school system that I had struggled in. Musical Theatre has been a big part of my life and was the original direction I was going in until I came across Cabaret and Burlesque around 12 years ago. I was instantly drawn to Burlesque, as I loved the idea that I could create my own art and build my own business. And let's not forget the rhinestones and glamour element too.
I debuted my first act in Liverpool under a different stage name, it was ten days after my father passed away, so I wasn't sure if I was going to do it, but with the support of my loved ones I debuted my 'Cup Cake Girl' routine at a beloved venue called Mello Mello, which at the time was one of the main creative hubs for Liverpool artists. I came off stage and cried, but was so glad I did it. Burlesque was a really positive outlet for me during those early stages of grief and gave me a sense of purpose.
I performed for 3 years in the UK, until I decided to go travelling around the world with my partner at the time. I put a pause on Burlesque, we sold all our belongings and set off with just a backpack each. We lived around Europe where I learnt Flamenco dance in Spain, India where I delved into Bharatanatyam dance and then landed in Australia in 2016. On the second day upon arriving in Darwin we bought a 1982 Toyota campervan, kitted it out with fresh interior including solar panels on the roof, lived and travelled around in it for a year.
Images by Sebastian Breckner from my first ever Burlesque photoshoot - Liverpool
Finding a base...
After living on the road for so many years (and missing having a wardrobe and a regular hot shower) we found a base in Melbourne and started to put down roots. I'd had around 6 years away from Burlesque and then started to get the itch again, this was definitely due to Melbourne's infectious creative energy and the people. I debuted as Gina Stirling in October 2020 and have never looked back. I've had the pleasure of teaching at Melbourne's finest dance schools Bottoms Up Dance and Maison Burlesque, I'm so grateful for these communities and how they have made me feel so welcome and to the present day I've performed my acts and taught my signature Burlesque Workshops all over Australia and Europe. Some of my career highlights was being voted into 21st Century Burlesques ‘Top 50 Most Influential Burlesque Figures’ in 2021 worldwide, headlining Perth International Burlesque Festival 2022 and in 2023 I was a feature Artist at Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival in the UK.
Returning to Burlesque after all those years and as an older version of myself has been extremely special, especially as someone who has discovered they're queer later in life. Being a teacher has taught me so much about myself too. My students reflect their learnings back to me and I've realised how much I love being a part of people's growth.
Performing at Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival - April 2023
What I've learnt through Burlesque
The more I've delved into this art form and gone inward with it, I've realised how much it has given me in terms of confidence and how it's provided a safe space for my queer exploration. I reveal myself as a political statement and for radical empowerment. I've found so much connection and power through the vulnerability of being on stage and being naked in front of people. I love that I get to express and explore the many multifaceted parts of myself through playing, dancing, makeup, comedy and costume.
As the years go by I get to understand more about what I want to say with my art and how I translate my beliefs to the world. My style has changed so much over the years and it has taught me to enjoy my own journey and evolution. I feel gratitude every day that I get to do what I love for a living.
Burlesque Tips Series
For the whole of 2023, I started something called the 'Burlesque Tips Series' on my Instagram, each month we explored a different topic beginning with the letter of the month we were in from 'Jitters January' through to 'Desire December'. All these subjects cover ways to enhance your performances, acting tips, dance technique, marketing, business, admin advice and so much more. All with the aim of hyping you and empowering you to unleash your fullest potential and artistic goals. It has been an inspiring year of connecting with the community worldwide and sharing all our best tips and tricks. I'll be continuing this next year, but will change the format a little to spice it up for us all, as well as writing blogs about performing and industry advice.
Something I'm extremely passionate about is community and uplifting everyone within it, this has been inspired from all the people who uplift me. By celebrating everyone's successes we get to cultivate this throughout the industry and practising compersion has so many benefits to maintaining this. (Meaning: Compersion is related to “sympathetic joy,” which is our wholehearted participation in the happiness of others. It includes the positive thoughts, emotions, and sensations derived from knowing of another person's gratifying experience, even when this experience does not involve or benefit us directly. Credit: Polyamory community.)
And then that brings me to you! Yes you! If you're like me and you've heard phrases such as 'Art isn't a real job' or 'You'll never make it' then please follow along. I've definitely doubted myself earlier on in my career, but have found lots of tools along the way (such as redefining what success means to me) that have helped me turn Burlesque into a full time career and got me travelling all around the world. So if you're someone who is looking to just try Burlesque for self love and confidence or you're looking into a career change, I hope that this space I have created for you can empower you to achieve your unique goals. G x
Lets stay connected!
Be a part of the Burlesque Tips Community by joining my Instagram Channel
Looking to try Burlesque? Check out my upcoming Burlesque Workshops tour around Australia 2024.
Or if you're thinking about a Private session with me, either in person or online Get In Touch
Image by The Pinup Academy