Words by Porcelain Alice | Photography by Mia Maraschino
Playing dress-ups in hyper femme costumes; researching black and white images of follies past; staring at studio rehearsal mirrors: this takes up a lot of my time. In-fact its my job.
For the last five years my income has come from my art. I pay my bills performing, producing, making costumes and teaching at Sky Sirens.
Last month I won Miss Burlesque NSW.
And for a moment I still didn’t feel good enough.
Porcelain Alice is both my profession and my downtime. But just like a student who is perhaps for the first time dipping their toes into the exciting pool of dance - I am sometimes guilty of comparing myself to those around me.
Regardless of whether you are performing a routine as a student or hobbyist of aerials, burlesque or pole, or as a seasoned professional, you might end up putting your performance (or body) under intense examination. An examination that is not based in reality as it is marked using comparison. Comparison to those around you. Those online, on venue stages or in the classroom.
A rejection email, an inability to get a move immediately or not getting the desired outcome in a competition can create a reason that all of a sudden seems tactile. Strong enough for that false examination process to play and replay and replay. The rejection or perceived failure can sit on your heart and burn the question, why aren't I good enough?
You are good enough.
You are good enough because nothing that you are as a performer, dancer or aerialist has changed with one set back. All your previous achievements are still as they always were. Set backs do not diminish anything that has happened before them, but unfortunately they can tarnish how you see yourself.
The most important thing I have learnt is there are endless ways for performers, dancers, aerialists and artists to mark success. The first is the mere fact that you are creating anything at all, trying something that is far out of most peoples comfort zone.
Being able to look in the mirror while you dance is success. Feeling confident in lingerie or a costume is success. Nailing a move in the hoop after months of trying is success. Being brave enough to apply for a show is success. Changing your goals or finding your own path is success.
There is no crown you must win or one path you must take.
Being funnelled into believing there is one way to succeed is poisonous thinking, because there is no linear trajectory and you are already succeeding.
Even while classes run in a linear trajectory - from beginner levels to advanced (for safety and development), Babydoll level moves performed with confidence, clean lines and a genuine attitude are as mesmerising as an advanced level performance. Each achievement should be celebrated, no outcome should tarnish those achievements retroactively.
We aren't able to change the outcome of competitions or change the output of other students or performers. Comparison is useless.
At the end of the day someone else WILL be better at something you are also doing. Unfortunately what you may not see is the person admiring you, watching you in awe.
Take me, I’m a bit of an art-deco styled stick insect. I love dramatic faces with acts that bring a hint of danger. No one has that combination on stage. No one does it like me.