Brief history of Burlesque
Burlesque first showed its bottom with the “tease” in a play called Lysistrata by the ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes. Lysistrata is a comedy where the women characters in the play used their sexuality and sensual wiles to convince their husbands to stop the war through sexual blackmail and tease. Burlesque was then seen performed by many Vaudevillians and confronting performers of the 1840s as a political satire and commentary of the social classes.
A typical Burlesque night included 3 or 4 acts of comedy, dance, mime, singing and striptease, with a grand finale. Burlesque then made its way to the shores of the US in early 1900s where the tease (and titties) had major influence. Over the next four decades many burlesque venues opened up, where great performers such as Gypsy Lee Rose and Zorita took to the stage.
Nowadays Burlesque can be clearly defined in two categories – the European political satire, involving taboo topics and risqué performances, and the other being the American pin-up girl style of the saucy tease.
Here at Bottoms Up’s we enjoy combining both genres & delving into the modern neo forms, along with the classic & traditional elements.
Burlesque has since evolved dramatically and new burlesque, or neo-burlesque, tends to try to shock the audience and takes on many forms. It includes acts based on the earlier conventions of strip tease, cabaret, comedy and elaborate costumes but brings the original foundations of political satire to the relevant issues of day.
Students will have an option of performing in End of Term Showcases. Specialty Showcase courses will be available for students who wish to perform their new found craft on stage in a choreographed group routine.