BurlyCon's Burlesque Hall of Fame Finishing School

The BHoF Finishing School presents classes with burlesque Living Legends from the mid-twentieth century. Classes are held during the Burlesque Hall of Fame Exotic World Weekend in Las Vegas, and focus on lifestyle, skills, and history. These classes are a fantastic and opportunity to receive information passed on directly from one of our most finite resources: the performers of yesteryear.

Learn more about the history of the Finishing School


2016 Class Schedule & Registration

All classes are taught in conjunction with the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender June 2-5, 2016, and held in Bienneville Room G at the Orleans Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

Thursday Community Classes

All community classes are held Thursday, June 2, 2016 in Bienneville Room G at The Orleans Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV. All profits go to the Burlesque Hall of Fame! Detailed descriptions below.

Hustlers: Get a discount All-Class Pass for $25 which grants you entry to all classes!

Ballers: Buy “A La Carte!” If you buy “A La Carte”, you can choose your own ticket price and donate additional funds to the Burlesque Hall of Fame and BurlyCon!

Thursday, June 2 Community Class Schedule

12:00 - 1:00 POC Discovery Roundtable - Moderated by Midnite Martini


Buy A La Carte | Advance registration $10 donation. PWYC option at door. No one turned away for lack of funds.

BHoF and BurlyCon are excited to invite POC team members, attendees, their friends, and allies to a roundtable discussion about POC in the burlesque community, what is working for them, what can be improved, and how BHoF and BurlyCon can best serve the entire community. The first speaker will be selected by drawing a name from a hat, and each speaker will have a timed segment of three minutes to speak, after which they will choose the next person at the roundtable from whom they would like to hear. POC voices and perspectives are the priority. Crosstalk is discouraged, but all topics are welcomed.  No one turned away for lack of funds. Preregistration is $10 to offset the cost of the room. You may pay more than $10 if you wish. 


1:15 - 2:15 Connecting with Legends Panel - Moderated by Kitty Baby


Buy A La Carte | Advance registration $10 donation.

Learn how BHoF finds and connects with Burlesque Legends. The team of devoted fans who do this work will share their insights and experiences on researching, locating, connecting with and even booking Legends. These experts will also discuss the unique considerations, opportunities and logistics of having a Legend at your event. This year panelists will also discuss elements of producing classes with Legends. Everyone is welcome, and those who are interested in producing Legends Challenges are particularly encouraged to attend. This panel will consist of members of the BHoF Legends Team, some of whom have been working to help bring this annual reunion together since the Exotic World Museum was on a goat farm in the Mohave Desert. Come meet the team and discover how they help make this the largest reunion of Burlesque Legends in the world. No one turned away for lack of funds. Preregistration is $10 to offset the cost of the room. You may pay more than $10 if you wish.


2:30 - 3:30 100 Years of Burlesque - Neil "Nez" Kendall


Buy A La Carte | Advance registration $10 donation.

"If you want to see the girl next door, honey, look over the goddam fence!" Blaze Starr to Neil Kez Kendall.
Join BHoF board member Neil "Nez" Kendall for a rollercoaster tour of Burlesque History. With unique unpublished images from his collection, one of the largest in the world, showing everything from Egyptian Snake Dancers at the World’s Fair to the catlike gyrations of Lily Christine in 1950's New Orleans! This unique, fast moving talk includes anecdotes from Tempest Storm, Dixie Evans, Ricki Covette, and Jennie Lee. Expect a personal and often irreverent presentation with no stone unturned.

Neil "Nez" Kendall is a burlesque photographer and producer living in England. He has worked alongside the most celebrated burlesque figures in the world. His portrait of Dita Von Teese was produced for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He is the first European to join the BHoF board. His relationship with the organization began when he met Jennie Lee in 1989 and the love affair continues. He shares his self proclaimed "Burlesque Castle" with over 20,0000 original pieces of Burlesque memorabilia. No one turned away for lack of funds. Preregistration is $10 to offset the cost of the room. You may pay more than $10 if you wish.


3:45 - 4:45 The Life of Lili St. Cyr - Leslie Zemeckis


Buy A La Carte | Advance registration $10 donation.

The Goddess of Love Incarnate is the story of Lili St. Cyr; sex symbol, icon, Montreal’s Sweetheart, America's Anatomic Bomb. She was the world’s highest paid stripteaser, a bigger star than Gypsy Rose Lee, named one of the world’s ten most beautiful women along with Ava Gardner and Bridgett Bardot. Lili was the first stripper to work in the swanky nightclubs on Sunset Boulevard as well as Las Vegas. She was at the top of her game for over 30 years. She took home baskets full of hundred dollar bills. Lili brought high class to a middle class form of entertainment. She changed what people thought about burlesque dancers. There were 6 marriages, romances with Orson Welles, Yul Brynner, Artie Shaw and Vic Damone. There were numerous suicide attempts, sold out performances, arrests, great wealth. The Goddess of Love Incarnate reveals what is behind the g-strings and the pasties to reveal a "complicated, eccentric, brilliant" woman much loved and little understood.

Leslie Zemeckis is an actress, best-selling author and award-winning documentarian. Leslie also wrote, produced and directed the critically acclaimed documentary Behind the Burly Q, the true story of old-time burlesque in America. The film aired on Showtime and was championed by such publications as USA Today and The New Yorker revealing the never-before told stories of the men and women who worked in burlesque during its Golden Age. Her book Behind the Burly Q was published by Skyhorse in June 2013. Her current book is Goddess of Love Incarnate (The Life of Stripteause Lili St. Cyr). Zemeckis is currently finishing her third documentary on tiger trainer Mabel Stark and writing her next biography about two legends of burlesque. No one turned away for lack of funds. Preregistration is $10 to offset the cost of the room. You may pay more than $10 if you wish.


Friday/Saturday Legends Classes

Burlesque Classes taught by the Legends of Yesteryear at the Burlesque Hall of Fame! Burlesque Legends will inspire you! They may also challenge you, thrill you, or even shock you, but they will never bore you. Come with an open-mind for perspectives you may not have expected to encounter, as well as for raw, unfiltered history you simply cannot get anywhere else. All Legend Classes are taught Friday June 3 and Saturday June 4, 2016 in Bienneville Room G at The Orleans Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV. Students receive a Certificate of Completion for all classes.

Detailed class descriptions below.

Discount Pass: Get a discount All-Class Pass for $150 which grants you entry to ALL Legends Classes!

Individual Classes: Buy “A La Carte!” 

Friday, June 3 Schedule

11:00 - 12:00 Stocking Tease - Ellion Ness


Buy A La Carte | Advance registration $40. Limited Enrollment! 25 students MAX.

Ellion dazzled everyone the first time she returned to the burlesque stage. She excels at owning the stage with beautiful struts and sweeping cape work, but it's her smooth stocking work that won hearts. She’ll demonstrate techniques and gives tips on choosing stockings, showing off your legs, and making the most of this classically naughty bit of lingerie. Bring your own stockings and be prepared to seduce! Ellion Ness, The Thinking Man’s Readhead, was interested in dancing as soon as she was old enough to walk. Hailing from San Francisco, she began her career in the 1950s, mentored by Lili St. Cyr, and soon found her way to the stage of the legendary Minsky’s Burlesque. She’s a faithful member of the Burlesque Hall of Fame Legend Family, always ready with support and advice for up and coming burlesque performers. "Follow your bliss" is her motto!



12:15 - 1:15 Black Dance History: Lecture and Demo - Trina Parks


Buy A La Carte | Advance registration $40. Limited Enrollment! 25 students MAX.

Trina Parks was the first African American ''James Bond" Women/Villian, as the fierce 'Thumper' in the 007 movie "Diamonds Are Forever". Ms. Parks brings her 60 years of dance and choreography experience to this class. She will describe the connections between historical dance and historical Burlesque. At the conclusion of the class, volunteers will be drawn from the audience to learn a short combo illustrating the techniques and styles discussed. Trina Parks was the first and only African American headliner in the famous 'Palm Springs Follies'. She is currently choreographing "Broadway Burlesque," a stage production in Atlanta, GA. Ms. Parks has been a principal dancer in the following dance companies: Katherine Dunham, Talley Beatty, Geoffery Holder, and Donald McKayle. Ms. Parks is an Actress, Vocalist, Master Dance instructor and a Dance History Lecturer. In addition to many Broadway and TV appearances, she starred in the movie "Immortal Kiss, Queen of the Night", as the Vampire Queen. Ms. Parks is a special celebrity guest at BHoF and this is her first time in attendance.

Saturday, June 4 Schedule

11:00 - 12:00 The Power of Panels - Dee Milo


SOLD OUT | Advance registration $40. Limited Enrollment! 25 students MAX.

Panel skirts are a great way to flirt and tease. Dee will show how her panels are constructed (this is not a sewing class, but attendees will be able to examine the garments), demonstrate classic, effective moves that helped her win the status of legendary performer, and lead the room in a dazzling display of fabulous fabric. Bring your own panels (or two pieces of fabric as a substitute for constructed panels) or learn from watching! Dee Milo, Venus of Dance, got her start in burlesque in 1949. Her career began in New Orleans and took her everywhere, leading her to a career as a headliner in San Francisco. She became friends with Jennie Lee in the 1950s, and heard about the Exotic World Museum in the 1995. The story of how she found her red dress and returned to performing after decades of staying offstage is a neoburlesque legend. Dee is BHoF's Legend of the Year 2016! She is happy to be teaching and meeting new people one on one.



12:15 - 1:15 Innovations in Classic Burlesque - Kim Gaye


Buy A La Carte | Advance registration $40. Limited Enrollment! 25 students MAX.

Kim Gaye was known for her signature Black Light Burlesque act which she began performing in the 1960’s. This class will incorporate classic burlesque and discovering ways to be innovative. Learn how to explore movement to find your signature moves and think outside the box! Kim Gaye’s family business is show business. A third generation performer, her mother was dancer Dolly Brown and her grandmother, Billy Brown, was one of the first entertainers of color in Vaudeville. This international sensation toured Australia, Canada, Taiwan, Taipei, as well as The United States. She was a co-feature with Tempest Storm in Honolulu at the Forbidden City Theater in 1969, a feature at Strip City in Los Angeles with Red Fox, and spent three years at The California Club sharing the stage with Etta James, Ike and Tina Turner, T-Bone Walker and more. This is her first time teaching at the Burlesque Hall of Fame.



1:30-2:30 Dusters: Elegance and Spectacle - Suzette Fontaine


Buy A La Carte | Advance registration $40. Limited Enrollment! 25 students MAX.

Dusters are great swooping fabulous double circle robes of fabric. Bring any kind of sheer or silk robe you have if you don't have a duster, or bring a large piece of sheer fabric to experiment with. You may also learn simply by watching. Suzette will discuss and demonstrate how to use fabric to create a glamorous spectacle, and describe how she used them in the shows in which she starred in the 1960s. Suzette Fontaine got her start as a GoGo dancer in her native Puerto Rico in the 1960s and later traveling between New York and PR to build her career in Latin revues. Known as The Latin Temperament for her passionate dance style incorporating Mambo, Rumba, and Afro-Cuban, she quickly excelled in burlesque and toured the rest of the US, from dives to palaces, as well as Canada and Europe. She created more than her share of scandals and will tell all if you ask her one on one!