Millie Dollar has been a staple on the burlesque scene for over a decade, dancing from Athens, to Zurich.
Performing across many different oceans, she is well known for her bump and grind style, extravagant costumes, and classic vintage look teamed alongside tattoos, red lipstick, and rock & roll
Millie is Liverpools supreme burlesque tutor, guiding and mentoring those who want to connect with their body, and their own sexuality, whether it is for onstage or privately.
Helping the burlesque starlets of tomorrow take to the stage, her alumni include performers such as Lindsey Witkowska/
Arielle Firecracker, Bambi LeBam, Velvet Fox, Meena Helvatia and so many many more.
“Millie has style of teaching that incorporates fun, expertise and encourages self belief. She helps bring out the best in her students and allows them to find their own unique style.” – Bambi Le Bam
How has the way you’ve been teaching burlesque changed over the years?
Usually the classes of the past were a little more derived in general stage demeanour etc, but nowadays along with teaching varying types and styles of burlesque, I also teach calming techniques, confidence boosts, alleviating anxiety and more.
My student showcases have show such a variety of styles each time, but I find it so much more rewarding when students tell me they used these techniques to get a new job, or even a raise at their current job.
The techniques I teach can be applied to many aspects in life!
What’s the biggest challenge teaching burlesque?
The biggest challenge nowadaysis breaking down the perceived expectation of what burlesque actually is. With the Burlesque movie, and cookie cutter classes people don’t really understand all the different styles, genres, and history of burlesque.
I have had the same response for my events, but luckily people enjoy this actual burlesque a lot more!
Do you teach burlesque as a dance class or something different?
I vary between techniques and routines, people enjoy getting to move around and use their body in a way they may have never done before! The main thing people tell me when they sign up is if they haven’t danced before, and worrying what that means to the class.
I teach a variety of routines at different levels, and getting in tune with your body can surprise some, being able to do things with it they never believed possible.
Biggest moment of pride?
Every student showcase I have done with my students really shows their different interpretation of burlesque, no two are the same and you can see that they let their personality shine through, something I think brings the soul to burlesque.
They all work so hard, and many of them have gone on to performing regularly, all over the world!
What steps do you take to ensure your classes and workshops are accessible to participants with disabilities/long-term health conditions? How do you adapt your classes for different people? (inclusion)
Many students come to me knowing that I have my own battles with mental health, and anxiety. it’s something I am very open about, and it is something we discuss. I believe this has helped people to make a step they may never have thought possible, as I don’t gloss over that part of myself so if I can do it they can too.
I am always cautious when students have varying mobility issues, making sure to make the classes suit every need, and always telling people to not push themselves too much. Sadly I currently haven’t got an accessible studio space, but I do hope to very soon.
Where are you based
I’m based and teach in Liverpool UK.
How long have you been teaching
I started teaching regularly back in 2016, although I have taught the occasional workshops before.
I wanted to wait until I hit the ten year mark in performing, when I had a lot of lived onstage experience, and had gathered together lots of information and tricks that I wish I knew at the start.
When I started performing Burlesque wasn’t so well known, so classes weren’t as available. I wish I had someone to tell me the tips and tricks I now pass on, and while I had no burlesque mother, I’m glad I can be a burlesque mother to them.
What do you want your students to get from your classes.
I want my students to feel like they have overcome challenges, to show them that they can overcome anything.
I always think it’s healthy to challenge yourself, even now I attend various classes myself as I think we should always be learning, and evolving, and I like to think i’m giving them that with each class.I want my students to feel like they have overcome challenges, to show them that they can overcome anything.
I always think it’s healthy to challenge yourself, even now I attend various classes myself as I think we should always be learning, and evolving, and I like to think i’m giving them that with each class.
What’s your favourite aspect of burlesque to teach?
I don’t think there is one particular aspect I prefer over others, especially as everyone has a favourite class, style or routine that we cover. My favourite thing about teaching and burlesque in general is how full of variety and skills it is, how no two acts are the same and every show is an adventure.
What do you hope students take away from your lessons?
I hope and have been assured that they are taking tools and applying them to regular every day life.
Some of my students have had confidence issues when it came to saying what they wanted, one of them recently told me she used some of the techniques we go over to ask her boss for a raise, she got it!
Do you think Burlesque teachers should be experienced Burlesque performers too?
I believe so, I wouldn’t take sky diving instructions from someone who’s never done it.
The experience of being onstage isn’t something you can state without having lived through it.
I tell my students to attend as many different performers classes as they can, because every performer has something they can give.
I think you never stop learning, and I always want to hear the advice other performers may have to give.
Do you think we should have accreditation for burlesque teachers?
In an ideal world, but it would be very difficult to regulate, it’s up to the students to vote with which classes they choose to attend.
Research your teachers, I’ve seen teachers pop up claiming long careers and disappear again when it was realised that wasn’t the case.
Be sure you’re going to classes that actually help you, teach you, help you to grow.
Who would you love to learn from? Past or present.
Whenever I can attend Dirty Martini’s class when she visits the UK I totally will attend, she was my burlesque inspiration, and now someone I call a friend.
She has so much fantastic knowledge about using your body, and I hope I can give the same alluring stage presence she gives.
I wish I could attend regular classes with her, and I’d make all my lovely ladies come with me too!
How do you talk to your students about what is or isnt possible as far as being a gigging burlesque performer?
I’ve given regular talking classes to my students on what to do and not do backstage, how to treat fellow performers, how to conduct yourself in a professional yet friendly manner.
I have also talked with them about how to email producers, how to write performer bios, and how to manage their social media presence.
Being a performer in this current time means so much more than just throwing together a nice act, you have to self manage, self drive, and push yourself constantly.
I ensure to cover much more than just what to do onstage, as what you do offstage is just as important.
What is one piece of advice you would give to new performers?
Be nice to everyone, and stay being nice to everyone.
Be nice to your tech guy, he makes sure your musics playing at the right time, your lighting guy so you know your well lit, your stage manager who is helping you to be stage ready.
How you deal with different genders in class- do you promote classes as female only? Female identifiers only? Open to all? Do you run any male only/Boylesque classes?
Currently my classes are female only, but I have taught one to ones with male performers many times. I would like to offer a class for those who want to embrace their feminine side but grew up presenting as male, as trans rights are very important to me, so I hope to have a regular class in place that offers this soon.