Burlesque Warm Up: How to Loosen Your Shimmy Muscles and Avoid Injuries

By on August 9, 2016

In the Tease! Bang! Boom! Burlesque Mentoring Program, members can ask our mentors any questions about the art or business of burlesque performance. Here’s a Q&A from one of our recent mentoring sessions…

Q: Do you have a go to warm up for rehearsals and/or performances?


freya-west-greenheadshot1Freya WestFirst off, THANK YOU for caring about this. I know a lot of performers who get injured because they don't properly warm up and cool down when performing.

If I have time and space, I will do about 5 sun salutations, a 30 second plank, body rolls, and 10 kicks to the front, side, and back to get my heart rate up, activate my core and stretch everything out.

Usually, I'm not lucky enough to have the space and time for all of that, but I always circle my wrists, elbows, shoulders, then standing on one foot rotate my ankles, knees and hips about 8 times each direction. This also activates my core, makes sure that I have awareness in my joints, and eliminates the snap, crackle, pops. I also like to shimmy, upper and lower, right before I enter the stage to shake off any excess energy.

After a show, I will always do a forward fold with bended knees to release my back and neck, and I take a long time in pigeon pose or another outside hip stretch.


Red Velvet13521949_1213244808687367_7141451273925331416_nNo, I don't. It really depends on the intensity of the act I am doing, the space I have to warm up in, and the amount of time I have. I try to have a minimum. My essentials consist of:

  • Hip, torso, neck circles.
  • Warming up my feet and ankles with ankle circles and ball/point/flat of my toes.
  • Wiggling my body around to loosen up a bit and feel if any areas are tense and need attention.
  • Paying attention to annoyed parts of my body.
  • Breathing. This is probably the most important. If I am doing high kicks or splits, I always try to get into those and do kicks, stretches, and get into the splits before the act. Although I have forgotten to do that before, and it is amazing what the body will do if you have adrenaline going, but I don't recommend it.

sydni-headshot1Sydni DeverauxBefore performances, I do grounding and breathing. If I have room or time, I stretch. I ALWAYS move my arms, neck and shoulders around. I try to be in my shoes for at least 10 minutes before I'm on stage so that I feel "in" them and ready to rock.

When I rehearse, I start with just playing with music and then I move into specific songs to rehearse. I'll even set timers or numbers of times to run an act.

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