Burlesque Dancers

Burlesque dancer

Burlesque dancers realize that you don't have to be lewd to be sexy.

Burlesque Dancers of the Past

Burlesque began in the early 1900s as a theatrical form of entertainment similar to vaudeville. These variety shows relied on broad parody and bawdy humor. Performers included comedians, singers, musicians, novelty acts, and, of course, burlesque dancers.

Modern Burlesque

A new generation, with a renewed curiosity regarding pin-up couture and old-fashioned glamour, has led to the reinvention of burlesque into the neo-burlesque movement. Burlesque dancers focus on sensuality over sex. You won't find women pole dancing to the latest rap song, as you might in a strip club. However, modern sensibilities have left their mark on the entertainment form. Depending on the venue, you may find tattooed and pierced performers, or an all-lesbian revue. Although the focus is often on dancing, acts may still incorporate singing, comedy, novelty acts, magic, and other performances that hearken back to the form's variety show roots.

Tools of the Trade

You may see your favorite burlesque dancers employ the following accessories:

  • Shimmy fringe - This fringe accentuates the movements of the hips.
  • Elbow-length gloves - In addition to adding to the overall style of the performer's costume, gloves are great for slowly peeling off, in a surprisingly sexy "striptease."
  • Pasties - Keeping with burlesque's tendency to avoid outright nudity, pasties offer "barely there" nipple coverage. They can feature cute designs that complement the overall look of the dancer. Dancers may also wear them under lacy or sheer costumes.
  • G-string - This underwear option leaves a little something for the imagination while keeping a dancer's curves in full view.
  • Feathers, fans, and boas - Whether you want to act flirty, coy, or proud; it's all in how you use these popular props.

Catching a Show

If you're interested in watching burlesque performances, your best bet is to head to the big city. However, you can find burlesque in other regions as well. Lili's Burlesque Revue delights crowds in Minneapolis, offering their services to nightclubs and corporate parties alike.

While catching a single show can be entertaining, imagine the fun of watching or participating in a large-scale dance event. San Francisco plays host to the Tease-O-Rama burlesque convention. The event combines classes and performances for non-stop fun. The New York Burlesque Festival is a similar East Coast event. More than 75 burlesque dancers delight the crowds during the four-day celebration.

Burlesque Instruction

  • The New York School of Burlesque offers a variety of classes taught by seasoned performers. You can even book a private lesson for your bachelorette party. The school's founder also offers an instructional eBook to share her knowledge with potential dancers living too far away to attend a class.

Whether you want to be on stage or just watch the action, take some time to explore the new wave of burlesque performances.

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Burlesque Dancers