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Meet Fannie Sinclair

Today we’d like to introduce you to Fannie Sinclair.

Fannie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I got into dance in my pre-teens and it’s been my life since. My strengths have always been in choreography-heavy pieces. I developed my skills as part of a performance team in high school and became the team captain and primary choreographer by the time I was a senior. From high school, I launched a career as a choreographer and dance instructor, teaching in styles of Hip Hop, Salsa, and Theatrical Dance. I choreographed my first musical at the age of 18. I have worked as a choreographer since with all types of productions and events including choreographing for the historic Theatre West. I have worked with over ten dance studios as a featured instructor on their rosters.

The short and honest truth is that, in my early 20s, I found myself in a relationship that was toxic and abusive. At that point in my life, I was lost. The trauma of this experience had left me with a loss of confidence, vulnerable, and without a strong sense of self. After I had left this relationship, I found myself in a bar in Oakland and a Burlesque show took place. I was enthralled with the confidence of the performers and their ownership of their sexuality. From that moment, I dove deep into a study of Burlesque and began using it as a tool to heal and take back my body and sense of self.

I created a character that really just ended up being an amplified version of myself, and I began by performing on that same stage in Oakland, The Hubba Hubba Review.

Having new found confidence and a new sense of celebration for myself and my body, I wanted to create an environment where other women could come and heal and celebrate themselves. I developed a curriculum and began shopping my classes around as workshops in LA and The Bay Area. After about a year with the workshop based programming, I decided to attempt my first ever Student-Based Intensive and Showcase where women of any background who wanted the experience of celebrating themselves on stage through this style of dance could join. I made sure the environment was safe and encouraging for the performers, and it was a great success.

At this point, I was offered by the event space we used to perform, a spot on their roster, teaching Burlesque as a weekly drop-in. Over the course of seven years, this developed into a three night a week set of classes, with intensive programming and showcases done regularly about twice a year. I was also continuing workshop-based courses with another studio in the valley. In June of 2019, I decided it was time to move my programming into a more centralized part of Los Angeles, and to run my programming more independently, once again. After a brief hiatus to re-assess my approach and make sure I was providing the space I wanted to, I turned to 2 locations in the Culver City area, VIBE Studio and a partnership with The Studio 203. My classes had just begun getting traction in their new spaces when COVID hit.

I have adapted quickly to the online environment and I feel that it has been met with success. I currently offer a Patreon with online classes, self-love sessions, a personal blog, and photosets. I have a weekly class on Instagram that is a Pay What You Can format and is called Monday Night Shimmy at 7pm pacific on IG LIVE. I have a weekly class on Zoom that is a Pay What You Can format called Thursday Night Heels which is essentially a more modern style of movement using burlesque and hip hop elements and including floorwork.

I stepped back out onto stages beyond my own in late 2019, and have been performing regularly on stages in LA since. COVID has led to moving productions online, which I have been fortunate enough to continue to perform virtually and have been enjoying this new medium of expression for the art of Burlesque.

I have also recently acquired The Golden Chandelier Burlesque Production, which was an LA-based professional show that was originally set at the historic El Cid. The show is now entirely virtual featuring monthly productions with cinematic tribute themes showcasing Burlesque performers in the LA and outside communities.

I am currently in the midst of adapting my showcase intensives to online. We are doing our first Virtual Intensive Showcase in October with 14 performers from various backgrounds and skill sets, all performing online!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Absolutely, there have been obstacles.

When I first created my workshops, I often would have no sign-ups. It was heartbreaking to put in the effort, promote and create, book the space, and sit there for an hour waiting for anyone to show. Lots of loss of time, loss of money, and heartbreak. Studio space is also expensive to rent and a risky investment if you don’t have a secured amount of attendees. It’s a hard balance and you’re reliant on others to be a success.

Consistency of interest has always fluctuated. People have immediate opinions when they hear the term ‘burlesque’ and won’t take the chance to try out the class because of the stigma attached. Once they are through the door, I think people see what the class is truly about and love it. Getting people through the door is the tough part.

I think that another factor is my validity of a teacher being that I am a plus-sized human. People would (and still do occasionally) dismiss me before even trying the class because they would discriminate about my body. Which just means they missed the entire point of the class to be honest.

Please tell us about Sinclair’s Booty Etiquette and Charm School.
Fannie Sinclair’s Booty Etiquette and Charm School is an inclusive program providing Burlesque dance classes, workshops, intensives, and performances based in Los Angeles geared toward body confidence, self-love, and a shimmying good time.

The primary classes are built and structured like dance classes, but there is more beyond that. Every dance in the class and the environment itself is about celebration and positivity. People that come into my classes leave feeling good in their own skin. I also offer a series of self-love sessions which are more about taking time to appreciate who you are in the now and reminding yourself that every part of you is valid and essential to your well being.

I think my classes appeal to all backgrounds and ages, which I think is unique. I have had women perform in my intensive shows that are in their 70’s alongside other performers in their 20’s. I also make sure that what I am teaching can feel accessible to anyone that takes the class. It gets trickier to do so online, but I am sure to interact and always be mindful of the student.

Beyond being a teacher, I am also a supporter. I like to get to know those that take my class beyond class time. I am interested in their interests, and I promote them and support them with their small businesses and hobbies. I want to lift everyone up. I want the people that enter my classes to lift each other up.

I think another thing about me is that I love to laugh and I am genuinely passionate about what I do. I like to keep my classes light and fun and allow people a space to feel good without having to be so heavy about it. Loving yourself doesn’t have to be heavy, it can be fun!

Booty Etiquette loves a good theme! I do many themed workshops and classes because I love any opportunity to dress up. I take every opportunity to celebrate ANYTHING. Why not? Life should be a celebration.

With Showcases, I offer a slew of my skill sets as part of the BECS experience for the performers. This includes sound editing to create the perfect music for acts, choreography or consultation, group acts, character creation, craft nights, and occasionally videography and editing and photoshoots with my partner, Lost Hat Media.

Lastly, I focus on repetition when teaching choreography. I make sure that the moves learned are repeated enough for the dancers to be comfortable with the choreography. Too often, I feel like dance instructors rush through the dance and don’t allow the dancers to feel it and explore it on their body. Repetition is the key to success in dance. I make sure to provide time for that in my sessions.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I think being my authentic self with people has been essential to my success. Fannie Sinclair isn’t a stage persona, she’s just me amplified. People see that and recognize that I am just being myself.

Perseverance and passion are also essential to success. I’m a theatre nerd till I die, I love all things stage and Burlesque is my honed adoration. I will go to the shows, talk burlesque all day, craft with you anytime.

As stated in the previous question, I love to support everyone. Supporting others in your surrounding community is essential to your own success. You have a project coming up, I will share it, I want to lift up the hobbies and interests and pursuance of others. I think it’s so important.

Pricing:

  • Patreon currently has 3 tiers: $3/month Bookworm ; $9/month Voyeur ; $25/month Student
  • All other online classes are Pay What You Can right now (In person, pre COVID, they would average $16 a class)

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Photography by Lost Hat Media

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