Don’t you hate it when people pretend like “burlesque” is some sort of magical high art form completely divorced from the idea of taking one’s clothes off for money? As if some boobie tassels automatically make a lady morally superior to the more modern types of strippers who are out there? Famed burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese does, and she is going to tell it like it is (with her trademark grace, of course).
In a recent interview with Time Out London, she had this to say:
I get asked this question a lot, what’s the difference between stripping and burlesque, and my answer is ‘more feathers and rhinestones’….Striptease/burlesque was invented in America. A burlesque show was a show, and the stars of the show were striptease artists. When you read anything that Gypsy Rose Lee ever wrote, she liked being called a stripper, that word was used back then. I don’t really need any fancy terminology to describe what I do. I never correct someone when they say ‘she’s a stripper.’ I’m like, ‘yeah I am.’ I’m proud of what I do and the history of striptease and burlesque.
Well said! It’s nice to see such a successful and famous woman embracing unity with other types of sex workers, despite the fact that it would be easy for someone of her stature (and non-explicitness) to claim to be doing something way different from them. Titillation has always been an important part of burlesque, and while the humor and costuming involved set it apart from, say, what you’d see at Scores, the underlying concept is there.
The rest of the interview is worth watching too, and shows Dita has a good head on her shoulders. She’s self-deprecating about her makeup application techniques, she explains that she’s a “failed ballerina,” and she emphasizes the importance of being true to yourself when deciding what kind of performer you’d like to be. She also says she plans to style and stage burlesque shows when she is no longer starring in them. I don’t know about you, but each interview with Dita that I see just makes me admire her more.
(Via Time Out London)