Chicago has a thriving burlesque scene, and without a doubt, the biggest name in that scene is Michelle L’amour. She’s appeared on “America’s Got Talent,” she founded the award-winning Chicago Starlets, she co-founded Naked Girls Reading (which now boasts 16 chapters around the world), and she’s trained future burlesque stars for the last nine years. Four years ago, Michelle established her burlesque “dojo,” Studio L’amour which just celebrated its fourth birthday with a Summer Student Striptease Showcase. I got the opportunity to sit down with Michelle and talk about Studio L’Amour, her history in burlesque, the Chicago scene and the Chicago Starlets’ upcoming show at Joe’s Bar on August 2nd, “Live NEW’D Girls.”
Can you tell us a little about the history of Studio L’Amour?
Studio L’amour just celebrated its four-year anniversary with the Summer Student Striptease Showcase. The girls performed burlesque for an audience for the first time. It’s always such a fun show because the energy is so exciting and new!
What inspired you to start teaching burlesque?
People asked, really. I used to teach kids ballet, jazz, and hip hop. I was doing burlesque on the side and kept getting more opportunities. It seemed like a natural progression to begin teaching burlesque. I’ve been teaching this primarily for about 9 years. I no longer teach children!
What can a burlesque novice expect to get out of a class at Studio L’Amour?
Ladies can expect a huge burst of confidence! It takes a lot to overcome those first class jitters, but after that first hour of class, I see a remarkable difference. The first couple classes are more about the basic moves of burlesque and the history. Then you progress on to learning full routines with props, such as boas, gloves, bras, etc. The props and choreography change every session.