What is Burlesque?

Posted by Sugar Cyanide on March 26, 2012 at 2:35 PM

*Last Wednesday's the 21st Burlesque Post*

For the most part the word has gotten out. Many people are at least familiar with the word burlesque, however they are not really sure what it means. Typically when one hears the word burlesque, they envision a Grande Dame in silk stockings covered in feathers and sequins. This is not far off from an aspect of burlesques, however when something has been around for nearly two hundred years or so it is bound to change. Originally burlesque was an earthy satire which is polite terms for vulgar mocking of conventional society at large, similar to “Saturday Night Live”. It wasn’t till the early 20th Century that burlesque became more about the Strip-tease acts and less about the comedy variety show.


Typically one will see two different terms Burlesque and Neo-Burlesque. Generally Burlesque is reserved for anything before the 1990’s while Neo- Burlesque is for everything from then to present. One of biggest differences between the two is music. Traditional Burlesque will use jazz, big band, and cabaret music from the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Versus Neo-burlesque will use modern pop, or rock music.




Now burlesque is such a diverse term itself that a single performer will do acts from several different genres, incorporating everything from Belly dance and Ballet to Pole and Fire. 




Cross Posted to St. Louis Burlesque Examiner  May 2010

Categories: Burlesque, Writing

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