It has been named the ultimate art of undressing, others may name it the most exotic form of dance, whatever you may call it- Burlesque is back!
The term burlesque originally came from the spanish word: "burla" meaning: "joke". Italians adapted it to "burlesco" and then the french word "burlesque" was developed and kept. It was not until the 18th century that Burlesque became a term used throughout Europe to describe a production that combined both musical and comical elements.
Burlesque first became risqué in london when women would play and dress up as the male roles for comedic value and entertainment- this was obviously something unheard of at the time.
Then, the Moulin Rouge incorporated strip tease into their burlesque shows and this is how it has developed up until today. It was infact, the Americans that gave it the main association with stripping.
Yet this form of stripping, if one could even call it that, was done in a classy and tasteful way. Women would not take all their clothes off completely and it was not about seeing women naked, it was all about the show. Glitz and glamour filled the atmosphere during these shows and the sparkly outfits and underwear would be the main attraction. Feathers, diamontes and dazzling makeup would make for a stunning show.
Somehow burlesque managed to escape the gritty reputations with that of stripping and glamour modelling. It remained a risqué art, yet as I said before, it was still respected. Of course, there will always be people that turn their noses up at the art. Nowadays however, women are openly embracing their sexuality and femininity, making them more powerful than ever.
So it is no surprise that Burlesque is making a comeback!
I was lucky enough to go to a burlesque show as an alternative night out back in the summer; at the Gypsy Hotel, a bar famous for it's unique gigs. I didn't know what to expect but I have to say it is the furthest from sleazy that you can get. The difference between stripping and burlesque is that there is a grand air of mystery to Burlesque. It is not about what is underneath the clothes it is the process of the revealing. Burlesque, unlike stripping, was not designed for men's pleasure, if anything, it empowers women.
The outfits are visually amazing for both men and women. Girls that love glamour will be captivated by the clothes and all the razzle dazzle that comes with them. The unfurling of clothes makes you wonder what amazing garment is under the next one. And as if the outfits were not impressive enough, the magical element in a lot of the shows will fascinate you.
I witnessed an awe-inspiring show with fire breathing! It was really impressive and definitely adds a touch of drama to the performances.
After all, these shows always did have a dramatic element to them and started off in theatres all around the world. These burlesque performers are not mere strippers, they are talented performers. And yes there is a very clear difference between the two; another difference being that it is all about the tease, not the strip, revealing that intelligence is behind this art.
The choreography is yet another element that proves that there is hard work and intelligence behind this art. All the burlesque performers are extremely flexible and work very hard to maintain their shape.
Another fantastic thing about Burlesque dancers is that they are women with real figures. By real I mean curvaceous and confident without indications of having starved themselves- because after all, that is typically the most attractive way to be.
They are slim and toned but with true female figures such as that of Marilyn Monroe's hourglass shape. And maybe by Burlesque coming back into fashion, women can be portrayed in a different, more positive way as opposed to that of some of the anorexic models on the catwalks these days.
Surely, if anything, they are better role models to girls and women? They are powerful, alluring and attractive, not to mention independent.
Anyway, I'm sure you will all be aware of the new "Burlesque" film coming out starring Christina Aguilera and Cher. This looks set to be a good one but let’s hope that it doesn't put the art of Burlesque under a bad light in terms of the dancing and the outfits (Christina’s ‘Dirrty’ video is not what it should resemble!) Let’s hope that it emulates the Glamour and talent that is involved in Burlesque.
And if my opinion is anything to go by, I will always maintain that Burlesque is an impressive and empowering art. C’mon girls, make like Dita Von Teese and viva la Burlesque!
Miss V x