Tonight I had my first burlesque class: glove and stocking removal. So I removed them. But far better than my sadly clinical removal (hey – I’m working on it) of these accessories was my learning about body movements a la Francois Delsarte and how gloves are measured in buttons (think horses in hands).
Delsarte studied singing at the Paris Conservatory and became unsatisfied with the arbitrary and posed style of acting taught there. He began to study how humans actually moved, behaved and responded to various emotional and real life situations. He achieved this by observing people in real life and in public places of all kinds. Through his observations he discovered certain patterns of expression, eventually called the Science of Applied Aesthetics. This consisted of a thorough examination of voice, breath, movement dynamics, encompassing all of the expressive elements of the human body.
Burlesque is just a form of story-telling through the artful removal of your accessories. How you do it makes all the difference regarding the story, though not much of a difference regarding the ending, I imagine.
Also, I learned about the Mousquetaire, a type of opera glove, which has three buttons on the wrist in order to provide a better fit for the wearer, or for her to sneak her fingers out of the very long-length gloves. These are pretty cool looking, but not for burlesque. For easy removal, one needs the satin stretch type. Since the entire point of glove removal is the slow build up to finally revealing one’s hand, the longer the glove, the better.
So this is how one measures glove length (from Wikipedia):
The length of ladies' evening gloves are referred to in terms of "buttons", whether they in fact have buttons or not. The word is derived from French, and the exact measure is actually a bit longer than one inch. Wrist length gloves are usually eight-button, those at the elbow are 16, mid-biceps are 22 and full shoulder length are 30. Opera gloves are between 16 and 22 inches long, though some gloves can be as long as 29 or 30 inches. To fit oneself for gloves, measure all around the hand at the widest part of the palm where the knuckles are, but excluding the thumb. The measurement in inches is the glove size, but if one's arms are large, it may be practical to go up a size. Generally, an evening glove is considered to be a true "opera-length" glove if it reaches to mid-biceps or higher on the wearer's arm, notwithstanding its actual length in inches or buttons; therefore, a petite woman might find a glove with a measurement of 16 or 17 inches adequate for the purpose, while a tall woman might need a glove longer than 22 inches. A glove shorter than elbow-length should not be referred to as an "opera-length glove" or "opera glove" under any circumstances.
I, for one, had no idea about this, and need to get some new, longer gloves. Preferably washable. One of the methods of removal involved one’s teeth while another involved stepping on the tips of the glove. You can tell the teacher had done this before because she was certain to practice the first prior to the second. I appreciated her professionalism.