You may have arrived at the Sparkle Burlesque page thinking, 'I've heard of burlesque, I've seen the movie, but what exactly is it?"
Put simply, burlesque is a mix of dance, theatre, vaudeville and comedy usually combined with elements of striptease. It evolved from satirical literature and as a theatrical tradition literally meaning 'to send up.'
As a dance form, burlesque burgeoned in the 1930s with the rise of innovative burlesque stars such as Gypsy Rose Lee and Sally Rand crossing over from underground shows to mainstream Hollywood films and shows. It grew through to the 1950s before giving way to new forms of entertainment on the world stage.
Modern burlesque has had a resurgence following the lead of stars such as Dita Von Teese and the recent Burlesque film with Christina Aguilera and Cher. It goes without saying that the attraction lies not only in the performance of burlesque but also the lifestyle that goes with it. The glitz and glamour or explorations in the 'neo' side of burlesque are influenced by vintage fashion from all eras - depending on your own interpretation!
Props such as large ostrich feather fans and boas were used to tease and shock audiences. Much of the glamour of burlesque is in the attention to detail in the costuming and props. Burlesque performers often make their own costumes or have them specially commissioned for their own unique acts. We will write about the art of burlesque costumes in a future post.
Burlesque in its truest form today is a celebration of identity through sensual expression. It is also fun! We say that burlesque can really be anything, so long as it's genuine.