Everything in the room belonged to her.
Even the cigarette in his mouth.
Watch Marlene Dietrich own.
1,000 0f the 16,047 views that video has logged are probably from me.
As I was getting up the courage to enter the Temple of Burlesque, I re-played that clip over and over.
What was she doing that was so captivating?
What was the secret?
I uncovered three.
1. Seduction is Slo-mot-ion.
In a world where everything is going a million miles an hour, a slow sultry walk is everything. Every single slow step or movement that Marlene makes is deliberate. She takes her time with the seduction – with her words, her movement and each flick of her lashes. It results in a jaw-dropping, spell casting mood. The audience hangs on every word.
2. The Secret Language of the Body.
Good posture exudes confidence. This was one of the main things I had to work on when I started coming out of my shell. I have been this tall since I was 11 years old, and to hide my height, I would hunch over on purpose. It took me years to get over this. This is a trick that I made up that has helped me so much:
- Stand up tall and stretch your arms straight out in front of you.
- Pretend that you have oars to a rowboat in your hands and slowly row back so that your shoulder blades are almost touching.
- Slowly drop your arms to your sides without moving your shoulders much.
Doing this will help you stand tall with your shoulders back. I have always called my trick, “Rowing into Something Better”, and anytime I feel slouchly and blah, I do it. My whole mindset is affected by standing up straight. I immediately feel more confidence rushing through my veins with a straight spine.
When nerves are getting the best of me backstage before a show…I simply “Row into Something Better.” Walking out on that stage with my shoulders thrown back communicates to the audience that I’m in charge. Make body language your bitch.
3. Eye Want You!
They say that eyes are the windows to the soul. The deliberate eye contact and look-away is one of my favorite flirting techniques. Marlene is either burning a hole in your heart by staring you down like a lion to its prey, or she is ignoring you entirely as she uses you as her toy. Take note on how she sets a seduction at the :10 mark (Marlene does not waste time) by putting her hands in a soldier’s hair, pulling it and not even making eye contact with him. She is using him to show everyone they are her toys, so that when she turns and faces everyone and demands, “SHHHHHHH” – she already owns the room.
She passed away 13 years before I even set foot on the burlesque stage, but Marlene taught me everything I needed to know in what she left behind.
Every time I have gotten on a burlesque stage, I have whispered her name and called her to guide me in the moments before the curtain opens. I hope a little of her presence can live in me.
The following video might be NSFW if your workplace isn’t down with the revealing of pasties for the last 3 seconds….but otherwise it’s pretty tame. I say go ahead, click it.
Make my day.
Do you have an idol who you call on to summon courage when you need it? Gush about that person in the comments. Curious to know if you do this kind of thing, too.