The origins of the word burlesque come from the french ‘burlesque’, derived from the italian ‘burlesco’, inspired by the spanish word ‘burla’.
In fact, the whole show is based on a joke in which the erotic dancer plays with her own identity often “feminizing” some typical gestures of men. Starting from England this phenomenon is expanding rapidly across Europe and has arrived in Italy at the beginning of the twelfth century. The particular performance was well known to english audience who admired the enchanting dancers at the Olympic and the Gaiety theaters.
The thing about burlesque that interests people is the erotic yet not pornographic atmosphere that it creates with the help of vintage lingerie, colorful feathers, 50s makeup, female taking up male leads and inventive use of stage props.
The list of famous burlesque dancers starts off with really old stars like Gypsy Rosy Lee who was an inspiration for the world famous Gypsy Musical; Fanny Brice who was portrayed by Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl; Blaze Starr who was described as ‘the hottest blaze in burlesque’ for her inventive use of stage props.
Then again, there’s Betty Page – the pin up girl, remember? – who was never categorized as an authentic burlesque dancer but thanks to her parts in three films ‘Striporama’, ‘Teaserama’ and ‘Varitease’, she had the opportunity to show off her skills in burlesque acts.
Today, the crown belongs to Dita Von Teese . Her shows are a delight for the eyes as she uses a huge martini glass full of colored water (or alcohol? hmm…) to bathe in. For quite a few years now, when one wants to see burlesque in its most elegant form, this 37 old glamorous lady is the first name that comes into minds.
But for those of us in Milan who are not that lucky to take the first flight to the states to see Von Teese perform, there’ll be another event of burlesque in Connie Dougles on the 24th of April. This show will cheer you up with shows of Duchess Dubois, Slinky Sparkles, Trixie Malicious and the Italia’s first burlesque boy! For more information please visit: http://www.conniedouglas.com