Burlesque is making a comeback across the United States.
Stars like Dita Von Teese, movies like ‘Burlesque’ with Christina Aguilera and Cher, or ‘Moulin Rouge’ with Nicole Kidman, have encouraged a lot of women to choose burlesque performance as a profession – and these ladies see the job as an art form.
As a result the genre has had a real renaissance.
“When you can bring in artistry and costuming and dance and music, it becomes much more than just a striptease. It’s this huge collaborative art, and I think that’s what the big popularity is,” says Trixie Minx.
In recent decades, there has been a revival of burlesque, sometimes called neo-burlesque. We are told there is a new generation out there nostalgic for the spectacle and perceived glamour of classic American burlesque.
“Most major cities have a burlesque troupe – or five. Seattle, Chicago, New York. The Carolinas have a couple of really large troupes that have been around for a while. New Orleans is huge with the burlesque scene. Atlanta,” says Mama Dixie.
While “classic” burlesque consisted of women undressing and men telling jokes, today’s shows are more varied and have higher production values.
“When you’re doing it on stage in front of a bunch of people with a live band there’s so much that can go wrong. And when you nail it, you are telling yourself, ‘Wow! I did it! This is great.’”, says Tesla Coil. These performers certainly know how to coin good stage names!
For the artistes it is also about self-confidence when they go on stage and do their show.
“I think that burlesque, when it’s seen, it’s so clear,” agrees Trixie Minx. “It’s a sense of female empowerment. You’re literally revealing yourself to an audience, and they’re cheering and screaming every bit of the way.”
In the end everyone involved insists burlesque is about having fun. The word derives from the Italian burlesco, which, in turn, is derived from the Italian burla – a joke, ridicule or mockery.