After my friends hosted such a lovely Bridal Shower for me, I started to secretly plan a fun event to treat my bridesmaids to, and also invite some girlfriends to join in on! I thought this could be a surprise activity in lieu of having an official stagette (I had told my friends not to organize one, and had NO idea that they were planning a surprise activity for me anyways, and at the same time!) I wanted to create a new and memorable experience for my friends and it was an easy choice to go with burlesque classes. I’ve spent the past few years taking dance workshops with the very talented Leigh Torlage at Harbour Dance Centre, and my posts on my dance experiences are some of my most popular posts on this site.
(Historic venue with Celebrity acts such as Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Billie Holiday having performed on this very stage! )
I contacted Leigh about my idea: that I really wanted to put on a special, private event for my bridesmaids to thank them for being a part of my wedding overseas in France! Leigh replied almost immediately, and I was delighted to learn that she had created a special stagette package that was similar to what I was proposing.
One of the perks when participating in her classes at Harbour, is performing live on stage! As part of her stagette package, participants would receive a private class and tickets to her professional show afterwards.
As part of our planning correspondence, she suggested a few songs we could have a dance session around and with that, we were ready to go.
Another element I wanted to add (and that would be very me!) was creating a lasting memory. I love photos and decided to explore the option of having someone film this experience.
Once I had these two major pieces confirmed, I let my bridesmaids know that I had a …surprise for them – I was organizing a fun activity and that they would only need to bring themselves. I also had a few friends tell me they wanted to be part of pre-wedding festivities, so I let them know about my plan too.
Time for some Burlesque!
I invited all the girls to come over and unwind before the night was to begin: I made some chocolate covered strawberries and chilled some bubbly.
(My fiance joining us for some treats, haha!)
Much like my first dance class, there were some nerves in the beginning. But once the fun costumes were on and the music got going, everyone was laughing and having a good time. I think it’s pretty clear we all had fun dressing up in burlesque-style outfits!
Some surprises (good ones!) – we finished the choreography to a WHOLE song!! This was incredibly unexpected, and impressive, because it usually takes several classes before we get through all the steps. (Granted, we only do choreography at the end of a class. The beginning portion is spent focusing on specific movements).
Leigh also added a lot of theatrics to tell a story, which made the experience even more playful.
Our class flew by pretty quickly, but we never felt rushed.
Nadia, who is an amazing dancer and part of Cabaret Torlage, helped teach part of the class as well so that we could learn different moves.
Once class was over, Leigh reserved a VIP table for us to enjoy the Cabaret Torlage show.
In between the private class and official show, we went to the Keg in Yaletown and sat outside on their spacious patio to soak in some of the warm summer sun before returning.
Since this was a kind of reverse stagette in my mind, I brought out the crazy bridal veil that we used at Millie and Victoria’s stagette last year, and made each of the girls wear it!
To quote Winnie, “ I like the attention!”
After protests from my friends, and their insistence that I should be the one wearing it (since I was getting married), I put it back on, but not before several other friends received words of congratulations from strangers 🙂
We then headed back to catch the Cabaret Torlage show…
Leigh and I!
We continued dancing the night away and I gotta say, being part of a stagette party does afford you certain perks 🙂
What a fun evening!! I recommend Leigh and Nadia to anyone wanting to plan a fun and unique group activity, and as part of stagette, bachelorette, birthday or girls night out!!
Feel free to ask any questions below.
Leigh also offers other stagette options where you and your friends can perform LIVE on stage in front of an audience! I chose a private class, but the option does exist to perform alongside her Cabaret ladies 🙂