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Burlesque Vs Stripping (Aren’t They The Same Thing?)

Posted 12th June, 2011 by

I came across this article and thought it raised an interesting point.
Trixi Tassels by David WoolleyBurlesque has an interesting relationship to stripping in that it was the stripping of its day, back in the first half of the 20th century.  That all changed with the sexual revolution of the 60s and 70s when the strip clubs that we know today started to come into existence.  In these clubs the girls would take it all off (generally unheard of in burlesque), and often not with much of the tease and glamour that we associate with burlesque.

Most modern day burlesque performers and aficionados would be aware of the innate differences between ‘burlesque’ and ‘stripping’ although the simplistic idea that burlesque is classy and stripping isn’t, is misleading.  I have seen some pretty vulgar burlesque acts and some very classy and skilled full strips, so it really comes down to the individual and their performance.

The most fundamental difference, I suppose, is that strippers will bare all while burlesque performers will always keep on (at bare minimum) pasties and a g-string (or merkin).  And this doesn’t even begin to scrap the surface of everything else that burlesque can be (comedy, aerials, contortion, performance art, prop work such as fans or hoops, or pure dance numbers) which are normally not found in the realm of modern-day stripping.  This is also not to say that burlesque dancers and strippers hold some sort of bitchy, wary-eyed opinion of each other.  While I am sure some do, there are lots of girls whose careers have crossed between the two worlds and many others who appreciate their ecdysiast cousins.

All that aside, neo-burlesque and stripping have both sprung from the same bawdy nightclubs and theatres of yesteryear and are both a form of erotic entertainment; it would be improper not to recognise or to deny burlesque’s true roots.

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