Burlesque – is it just stripping for the middle class?

There is a funny disconnect between stripping and burlesque – you can see this in Caitlan Moran’s book “How to be a Woman” where she talks about why burlesque is more acceptable from a feminist perspective than stripping. In actuality it came from the same place, back in the origins burlesque and caberet and vaudeville where all in the place that we currently find strippers, comedy and performers. I think the difference is that as time went on society tried to draw a firmer line – this is space is for sex and naked people, this is for funny-funny, this is for showmanship and story telling.

Burlesque harks back to an earlier era where a stripper was also going to show some comedy, tell a story and put on a capital S show. (Not that some strip doesn’t do this now, but many clubs are pared back to the all sex, all genitals, all the time vibe that doesn’t reward comedy or costuming or other points of difference).

So what is the difference between stripping and burlesque? Strippers get paid more. (Boom-tish, I’m here all week.) Burlesque has a more retro vibe, has more comedy and storytelling built into the act. In both cases the act does celebrate and reveal the naked body. I love burlesque for the retro music, the gorgeous costumes and the story telling but there is space for both.

These are a couple of starting point music wise… although there is no standard obviously!

Stripping music

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6y_4_b6RS8 R Kelly – Igition

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjyZKfdwlng Warrant – Cherry Pie

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oqXwnXjgDE – JT – Sexy back

Burlesque music

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-1FE9cB-4g – Nick Cave – I’m your man

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGypxhxCE5Q – Bessy Smith – Sugar in my Bowl

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PODXNPzQ2ZM – Kanye West – Gold Digger

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