Proposal Tips

How to properly submit your class, paper, or panel proposal:

As you develop your BurlyCon Class Proposal, there are a few things we want you to keep in mind. It’s time to flesh out your ideas and put the first conceptual rhinestones in place. We get a ton of great submissions each year but many don’t get selected due to the class proposal being unclear. Here are some tips from the Programming Committee so that your proposal gets noticed.

Class Topics

  1. Don’t be afraid to submit basic classes. Surprisingly each year we do not get a lot of submissions for classes geared towards newbies.
  2. We love history classes! Submit one!
  3. Keep your topic specific. Try to avoid being too generic.  Instead, be very specific and consider submitting multiple classes so you have time to teach everything you want. Example:

Rather than submitting “Wigs n Things” consider submitting a class (or more) with specific topics such as “How to Shop for Wigs” “Cutting and Styling Wigs” and “Do this Trick to Wigs”. That will give students a clear idea of what they will learn and give you enough time to teach the class. If the Programming team feels you can combine your class we will ask you!

Course Objectives

Give us your intent as a teacher in 140 characters or less! Let’s really break things down, refine our ideas and offer potential students crystal clear reasons for attending our classes.  This is simple, but it does require you to really think about what your students will learn.  Be specific and remember that your time is limited.  You may not be able to achieve ALL of your desired objectives so pick what is most important for your students to walk away with.

Examples: 

“In Bump and Grind Basics, students will learn the 4 basic bump and grind moves and will incorporate them into a simple dance routine.”

“In Turbans and Tiaras 101, students will learn 3 useful techniques for creating headdresses inspired by vintage ads from the 20s and 30s.”

“In the Tao of Tease students will learn breathing techniques inspired by Taoist mediations, and how they can use them to enhance their stage presence.”

“In Perfecting Patterns, students will learn professional tricks for adjusting garment patterns to optimize the fit and functionality of their costumes.”

“In Pasties & Politics, students will learn to inform their production models through the lens of social justice, and how to use burlesque to make their voices heard.”

 

Course Methodology (or Lesson Plan)

How will you achieve the course objectives you listed above? In other words, how will you teach your class? A lesson plan is like a road map. It’s something you follow to ensure that you reach your destination.  While detours may happen, a good map will help you get back on track. It’s a useful tool, and one we want you to have on hand.

We encourage you to have a detailed lesson plan at the ready when the time comes to teach your class.  For now, a basic outline or a statement about your methods will give us a better understanding of your class and your techniques as a teacher.  Keep your class objectives in mind, and keep it simple!

Examples:

“We will begin by stretching for 10 minutes. For 15 minutes, we will learn some basic ballet and jazz steps. For the next 15 minutes, we will learn a ballet combination. Then, we will spend 15 minutes learning a jazz combination. For the remainder of the class, we will combine those combinations into a dance. The class will be split into groups and will perform the choreography for each other.”

“This class introduces students to the principles of Delsarte for the hands. The class is taught as a movement-based lecture in which I demonstrate a move and have students repeat it as I discuss its significance. Students will always move together in large groups, and may participate in some simple, large group choreography to Karen Carpenter songs.”

 

Course Description

Okay, you’ve told us what you want students to take away from your class (your Course Objectives).  You’ve told us how you intend to do that (your Course Methodology).  Now it’s time to sell your class! The Course Description is like an Emcee’s introduction.  It gives potential students all they need to know to get excited about the class, without spoiling any major reveals. This copy is intended for use in the BurlyCon 2016 Program and it’s important that the information you offer accurately says what you want it to say.  Take your time, and remember that space is limited.  Please keep it to (500) characters or less.

Example:

“In Unlocking the ‘Vag’ in Vaganova, Agrippina Vajeana will guide you in an exploration of the power and grace of classic ballet technique through the lens of burlesque’s feminist ideals. Learn to engage your core, both physically and spiritually, through warm up routines inspired by traditional barre techniques. You will learn basic ballet movements and terminology, and receive tips on how to internalize these exercises.  Come ready to move, and to find new freedoms unleashed as you reclaim and repurpose the disciplines of 19th century Russian ballet for 21stcentury Burlesque empowerment.“

“In Stage Makeup Basics you will learn techniques on creating a fabulous show drag. Learn how to contour, shape eyebrows and choose colors that will take your costuming to the next level. Bring your makeup supplies because this class is both demonstration and practical application.

 

Class Level… Alright we’ve broken down our class, and analyzed what we want, how we’ll do it, and how we’ll sell it.  Now it’s time to confirm our own instincts and those our students by identifying the level of experience, technique or skill a student should have in order to benefit from this class.  This will allow our attendees to identify what classes are right for them beyond a flashy title and cool description, and help them fill both challenged and satisfied when they leave your class.  Remember as a professional and education event one of our goals is to help each other grow!

Beginner: This class is best suited for individuals with little or no training in the applicable discipline (dance, costuming, emceeing, production, etc.).  Brand new performers just getting their feet wet and more experienced performers interested in trying something different may both find this class beneficial.

Intermediate: This class is best suited for individuals who have a basic understanding and some level of experience in the applicable discipline (dance, costuming, emceeing, production, etc.). Time spent on reviewing basics will be minimal, as the focus of this class is to build upon an existing foundation. Students with experience in related disciplines may find this class useful, but it is geared toward expected standards of the discipline or form.

Advanced: This class is best suited for individuals who are well versed in the terminology and techniques of the applicable discipline, and who have had experience in applying these techniques.  Advanced classes will focus on refining existing technique, offering new iteration of excepted standards, and pushing students to reach beyond their level of comfort.  Advanced classes will move at a faster pace, and may cover more information than either intermediate or beginning classes. Students should have more than a passing understanding of the subject matter, as basic will not be covered or reviewed.

Any: This class level is typically applicable to classes that are not built upon a specific discipline (dance, costuming, emceeing, production, etc.), or are based on “specifics” within a discipline that are broadly applicable and may be useful to anyone.  Most of these classes will be geared toward Community Discussion and Panels but a case for Performance related skills may be made.  This class must be accessible to beginning performers and interesting to those with more experience.

 

Class Size & Time

Two last details for you to consider when making your proposal are the size of your class and the time allotment you prefer.  It can be difficult, even for an experienced teacher to anticipate the number of students who will show up.  So instead of guessing, it is important for you to consider how many students you are PREPARED to teach. Can you effectively teach your complex jazz routine to a class of 50 or 60 eager learners? How about your hand beading techniques?

Let us know what you are prepared for, and start thinking about how you can adjust your approach to accommodate smaller or larger groups.

Some subjects are too complex or detailed to be effectively taught in under an hour.  Others may be find success in being succinct. What would work best for your materials and methods? Do you need to teach or review the ‘basics’ in order to meet your goals, or can you jump right it? Consider your class size, the level of experience you expect your students to have, and lesson plan you wrote earlier! Finally, consider how you can adjust your approach if your preferred time slot is unavailable.

Have a question about a class you want to submit? Feel free to email us at Prog@burlycon.org. We will try to help you out as best we can.

Best of luck and happy proposal submissions!