Colby said her toughest critics and most encouraging coaches are her two children, an 18-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter."I feel comfortable when I go through my routines with my 13-year-old," she said of her daughter, who is also her backstage assistant."She tells me when I'm pushing a boundary she's not comfortable with."If something happens they're not comfortable with, they're the first ones to tell me."Colby said she's having "an insane amount of fun" with burlesque."Every single time I perform now, it's more and more fun, and that tells me I'm headed in the right direction," she said."The reason I do what I do is because I love my audience so much.
"American burlesque is so dance-heavy and European burlesque is so costume-heavy.And then you have somebody who is world-renowned break it down for you."Colby said she tries to do that at her Dannie Diesel's Bump 'n' Grind Academy, which she opened in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago.But she still feels like she has a lot to learn."I don't think I'll be the complete package till I'm like 80," the 38-year-old said."We see ourselves as Iowa folks who love what we do and like to teach other people about what we do.I think there's an easy, laid-back coolness that resonates with that."Upcoming episodes, she said, show her playing more of an active role on the road with the men, not just waiting by the phone at Wolfe's business, Antique Archaeology in Le Claire, for televised calls."It has taken a very long time to just get to where I am," she said."When I feel like I have that down, I can focus on the Swarovski crystals."Colby has made it a mission to perfect her act, spending four hours a day dancing, not counting any other exercise.She's learning from some of her burlesque heroines, including a New Orleans dancer she meets up with once or twice a month, and a dancer from Helsinki, Finland, who gives her lessons and advice via Skype."I'm just more excited to learn the dance portion of it and get that down," she said. I'm not remotely where I want to be yet."She's also learning belly dancing from a neighbor in Chicago, which, she says, helps her get in better touch with her body."Burlesque originally was variety acts, and in the '70s it kind of turned to just straightforward strippers," she said."It ushered in a dark era of burlesque, but that's what we're reclaiming right now, reclaiming that vintage, times-gone-by era of burlesque by inviting all of the varieties into it."We want to run the gamut and bring it back to what it originally was," she said, by inviting such names as Ginger Valentine, Iva Handfull, Poppy Daze, Elle Dorado and Minnie Tonka to both perform and give workshops."It's great for the family sitting around, having dinner, whatever.You don't really have to think too hard about it, but it is an educational show.