Artists should be confident that they meet a high professional standard in the areas of performance, tease, audience engagement, visual presentation of costume and styling. Performers must showcase a confident movement palette that engages with their soundscape and expresses musicality. Performer’s routines should be well-rehearsed and polished while engaging with and adapting to the live performance environment.
All prospective entrants who submit our application form for the Mx Burlesque Australia competition must abide by all Rules & Criteria set out below:
Order of competition Sections & Scoring
The competition is comprised of three marked sections – the Red Carpet Parade, followed by the Striptease Routine, and finally the Unique Routine. Each section has their own scoring requirements as set out on this page. Please read these carefully as many additions and changes have been made.
All guidelines for the competition are designed to create an entertaining and engaging show for the audience while simultaneously allowing theatrical talent, intelligence, and creativity to flourish. The rules and criteria are written to encourage artistic ingenuity while supporting a structure for judges to select a winner. The judges are looking for a well-rounded performer who can demonstrate different styles across the three sections.
Through these three sections, we want to take the audience on a journey that displays each performer’s dynamic performance style.
RED CARPET PARADE
Contestant introduction Section
The Red Carpet Parade is the opening section of the show. It’s your time to shine while the MC introduces you to the audience. This section is judged on performance, confidence and the presentation of your character through costume, movement, expression, gaze and gesture.
The outfit chosen should be a representation of your character. It could be extra, over-the-top, campy, excessive, risqué, political or parodic. The overall aesthetic should have an intrinsic “wow” factor – whether that be vintage couture, a polished tuxedo, or Avant-Garde wearable art.
- The contestant must wear an outfit that is separate to their performance costumes.
- No props or backup dancers are permitted during the parade section. Accessories such as feather boas, stoles, parasols, etc. are acceptable.
Sexiness, Smoulder, Smut, Strut and Strip – the new Striptease section seeks creativity that harnesses each performer’s version of their TEASE!
“Tease” means to “playfully make fun of or attempt to provoke. Tempt sexually”. Satire, tease and the subversion of expectation (that cheeky wink) are fundamental to burlesque but the Striptease section has been created to challenge performers to focus on their own ability to tease the audience.
Gimmicks, themes and comedy are welcome as always, but tease must be the core element on display.
Their performance should focus on costume removal, gaze and connection to the audience, to bring their best tease to the stage.
This section is to challenge the performers to strip back their act to the good old fashioned, STRIP TEASE of burlesque.
- Routine must run for a minimum of 3 mins and a maximum of 5 mins.
- Tease is required as the central focus of the act.
- Judges will be looking at the quality of costuming and overall visual aesthetic.
- Small props are permitted as long as approved by the producer in the lead-up to the show. Set-up is permitted.
- Stagehand assistance or audience interaction is permitted dependent on Covid restrictions.
- NO MESS – due to time constraints and venue regulations there is to be no mess that requires clean up. This refers to the use of glitter, confetti, mylar, streamers and liquids.
- Back-up dancers/ dance partners/ walk-ons are not permitted during this section.
- The Striptease section is not aligned with any specific date or era. Costume choice, overall visual aesthetic and musical stylings can be inspired by any time period of history.
Performers will be judged on Engagement – Use of Stage, Audience Connection, Styling – Costuming, Visual Presentation, Movement, Music & Musicality as well as Tease & Performance.
In the immortal words of Gypsy Rose Lee, “You gotta get a gimmick!” Well, gimmick or no gimmick this is the performer’s chance to show the audience their modern interpretation of burlesque. We want performers to consider how striptease can be innovative to burlesque as an art form – whether integrating technology, or evolutions in live stage-craft, costuming tricks and inventions. Artists should present themselves as a well-developed character that is an expression of their own unique persona.
Overall, we want this to be entertaining. This section can be conceptual, classic, narrative or performance art – we want the performers to only be limited by their own imagination. Overall, we want to see their biggest and best routine. Performers should make us think, make us scream; make us feel something through their performance. We want the performers to be adding their original voice, skills and artistic flair to the knowledge pool of burlesque.
In this section contestants can perform any style or genre of burlesque – be that conceptual, skill-based, performance art, narrative storytelling, classic, circus, vaudeville – as long as it involves an element of striptease.
- Routine must run for a minimum of 4 mins and a maximum of 5 mins.
- Individual characterization is required as the central focus of the act.
- There are no rules with regards to costuming, music and styling.
- Major props are permitted but must not take any more than 2 mins to set up or remove. Major props are to be discussed with the State producer who will make their executive decision dependent on venue or extenuating circumstances.
- Weighted stages and aerial rigging are permitted for this show if the venue allows. It’s up to the contestant to cover the cost of setting up, rigging and must be prepared prior to the event to allow for quick set up for the stage. Riggers must be industry certified.
- Backup dancers are permitted for this section.
- Stagehand assistance and audience interaction is permitted.
- Media integration, including use of microphones, audio technology or projection is permitted.Tech must be organized and paid for by the performers and supported by the venue’s technical capacity.
Performers will be judged on Individuality, Character & Performance, Engagement – Use of Stage, Audience Connection, Styling – Costuming, Visual Presentation as well as Tease, Movement & Musicality.
GENERAL SHOW RULES:
- Xpole’s are not permitted in this competition at all.
- Please ensure costume and styling are separate looks for each show.
- NO MESS – Due to time constraints and venue regulations there is to be no mess that requires clean up in the routines. This refers to the use of glitter, confetti, mylar, streamers and liquids.
- Animals are not allowed in any Mx Burlesque Australia showcase.
- Pasties and merkin (or equivalent nipple & genitalia coverage) must be worn as a minimum by all competitors at all times.
Statement on appropriate behaviour
Mx Burlesque Australia is committed to providing a platform to build a positive and supportive environment for the Australian burlesque community. We aim to support a thriving and diverse space in which performers both new and old can develop the artform and foster relationships with one another. All Finalists are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times.
MBA aims to uphold an inclusive and positive theatrical space that encourages body, race, ethnicity, creed and political diversity.
Bullying is defined as, “an ongoing and deliberate misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that intends to cause physical, social and/or psychological harm.”
Bullying can occur in both physical and online spaces. This behaviour does not promote a positive, inclusive or supportive community environment and is deemed unacceptable behaviour within the MBA competition. Any competitor aiming to negatively influence or intimidate another competitor or member of the MBA production team will be found to be in violation of the terms and conditions of the entry of the competition. They will not just be removed from their participating MBA year but will be barred from entering in concurrent years.
Cultural Appropriation is defined as, “the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing understanding or respect to this culture.” Cultural appropriation occurs when “members of a dominant culture take elements from a culture of people who have been systematically oppressed by that dominant group.”
Cultural appropriation was historically aligned with racist performance traditions and has occurred with great frequency throughout the history of burlesque, the continuation of this causes harm, perpetuates hurt and entrenches political, social and cultural othering.
Learn more about cultural appropriation in Burlesque HERE!
Mx Burlesque Australia has a strict policy against accepting acts and performers that depict cultural appropriation on the stage. If a performer is found to be creating an act that seeks to depict topics or perspectives that marginalise any culture that is not their own, they will be barred from entering the competition in concurrent years.