FAQ You! Choosing a stage name

How do I choose a ‘burlesque name’ to perform under?

Choosing a name can be tricky and performers typically go through two or three versions of a name before settling. It’s a good idea to let it grow organically – try something which you feel suits you and then ask others to help tweak it.

Be careful what you pick as certain names will ‘pigeon hole’ you and once your name is established it is not advisable to change it. If there is any possibility that you might like to expand in to other genres, be sure your stage name allows for this.

Make sure your name is not misleading. Potential bookers need to understand what they will get when they book you – certain names will imply you have specialized skills or abilities i.e. ‘Trinny Trapeze’ would imply trapeze skills and ‘Lady Tease’ would imply strip-tease skills, etc. The most memorable names are often puns, alliterative or onomatopoeic, so take your time over it. In the spirit of burlesque, names which are puns or evoke double-entendre are highly appropriate and attractive.

It is also important to avoid choosing a name that could be confused with another already in use. Established performers can be upset by new performers using similar sounding, meaning or even the same name which is confusingly similar. This is understandable and should be avoided. It benefits no-one to have confusion between identities. You may also be infringing on a registered trademark in some cases, which can lead to criminal prosecution in extreme circumstances. To help avoid clashes, do be sure to do your research. Perhaps start with our Performer Directory – the MoB Speakeasy – to ensure that nobody else listed is already using it or a confusingly similar one; also perform a search on the internet of your intended name including variations in spelling and then perhaps also ask on our forums too.

Certain semantic and phonic clashes are inevitable but most can be avoided by not using obvious clichés and common place names and words which are frequently found in the genre’s lexicon. Marketing Tip: Using commonly used names and words would also make it difficult for internet search engines to pick your name out from all the other possible references too.