Burlesque is a form of performance combining elements of theater, comedy, satire, music, and adult entertainment. Burlesque performers are known as burlesque dancers and can be either male or female, but are most commonly female. Burlesque originally began as a form of literature or theater that made fun of serious works by treating these works ridiculously, but would later develop into the on-stage performance that the word burlesque more commonly refers to today. Burlesque dancers are known to dress in elaborate costumes that will be stripped off during the performance, and burlesque performances will have comedy routines or variety acts occurring throughout the performance.
Stripping vs Burlesque
What is the difference between stripping and burlesque? They are the origins of each performance, the intentions of each performance, and the elements of each performance itself.
It is true that burlesque and stripping began in a similar way. The original burlesque dancers of the early-to-mid 1900s are sometimes known as the original strippers, and the pole that is used during stripping performances is known as a burlesque pole. However, burlesque had its origins in literature and satire; burlesque was originally meant to make fun of certain social conventions and events, and modern burlesque performances reflect this. Stripping, on the other hand, was generally never meant to have a wider meaning beyond the exotic dancer removing his or her clothes.
Where the intention of stripping is for money and the physical performance, the intentions of burlesque are a performance within the broader context of the show it appears in. Some exotic dancers enjoy their work, so one cannot say that stripping is done only for money, but the intention of an exotic dancer stripping is most often physical: they show off their bodies and the way they can make their bodies move for money. Burlesque dancers, on the other hand, intend to entertain the audience in different ways. Burlesque dancers aim to make the audience laugh, and because burlesque is rooted in satire, burlesque dancers usually do not want to be taken too seriously in their performances, which are for fun. Exotic dancers, in general, do not intend their performance as a work of comedy or satire.