You can learn the art of the tease from Liverpool's Burlesque queen Millie Dollar - The Guide Liverpool

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You can learn the art of the tease from Liverpool’s Burlesque queen Millie Dollar

01/03/2022

Liverpool Burleseque performer Millie Dollar has been entertaining audiences with her shimmying live shows for more than 15 years.

Now she’s back with her Dollar Bills classes, teaching the art of the tease to dancers who want to learn showgirl skills in their own living rooms or in a studio.

Like every other type of live theatre, Millie’s in-person teaching sessions and shows were disrupted by Covid – she even created her own bespoke rhinestone face mask for socially-distanced performances.

But now she’s been able to restart them and, having taught around 500 students already, she’s keen to see people face to face in the city again as well as reconnect with a new global online community.

Six-week long studio courses at Livewire on Renshaw Street begin on Wednesday March 2, when Millie will be teaching burlesque routines, techniques and styles to all levels of dance experience, from absolute beginners to seasoned performers.

She first started classes in 2016, waiting until she had 10 years of on-stage experience so she could offer students a more authentic view of what Burlesque is really like.

But the pandemic took her in a different direction and has actually seen the Dollar Bills community go worldwide.

“The first lockdown hit as I was four weeks into a course, so like a lot of other people I switched everything to online and I was filming my tutorials and classes from home,” she says.

“Originally, when I set up online, it was just meant for the students who’d had their block interrupted, but then I opened it up to my local students so they could keep going too.

“In October 2020 I decided to make it so anyone could sign up, and I had over 80 people joining from all over the country and also all over the world. I had students in America, and from across Europe, so I suddenly had to navigate time differences, the Dollar Bills family started growing and growing and it’s now become international which I really never expected.”

Millie Dollar – photo by Belle Privee

Toxteth-born Millie says while the studio classes allow students to practice their go-go dancing and be put through their bump and grind paces in person, the online option has an added appeal.

“Online has been a really nice way for people to dip into Burlesque who maybe would normally feel too shy or self-conscious about dancing in a room,” she explains.

“I know people can find that a bit overwhelming, and we do have some students who leave their video off during classes, but as long as they’re enjoying it and it makes them comfortable then that’s fine.

“I think for some people it’s about learning something new and taking on a new challenge, but there’s also the community aspect to the classes, online and in the studio, too.

“Over the years many of my students have become friends, we’ve actually had a couple of relationships, and the age range really varies. I’ve had students who’ve just turned 18 and some in their 60s, I’ve had people who’ve never danced before and some who’ve had years of dance training.

“Everyone gets very different things out of it. Some people will say it’s helped them to learn how to appreciate their own bodies, and I really do believe dancing is a very healthy way of connecting with our own bodies in a way we don’t normally.

“I’ve also had quite a few students who’ve started off in the class quite quiet and reserved then down the line they’ve gone on stage. Some have even made careers out of it and are performing regularly so I’m proud of that.”

Millie runs classes alongside performing her own live stage shows, and has found the two have benefited each other.

“Teaching isn’t only about challenging my students but it’s challenging myself. I generally write a new routine to teach each week so I’m constantly researching choreography and working on new ways of moving.

“Now I’ve got a huge folder labelled Dollar Bills classes and that’s helped me to look at different types of music and how I create routines for me as well as the classes.”

With studio sessions at Livewire restarting this week, Millie is hoping to see new faces alongside returning students who’ve been with her for four or five years.

“It’s nice that they still feel challenged by and enjoy what we’re learning each week and it does definitely feel like a family,” she adds.

“We do have a lot of brilliant Scouse Burlesque performers nowadays, so there’s a lot of humour in the class as well. It’s just a really nice camaraderie.”

Find out more and book your place here.


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