Burlesque: Stripping as art?

It's grown in popularity over the past decade and with the launch of Christina Aguilera's new film, burlesque is hitting the mainstream. But does it do women any favours?

With the opening of Cher and Christina Aguilera’s new film Burlesque in cinemas nationwide this weekend, the blend of risqué dancing, striptease and innuendo is thrust under the lime-light.

Its association with stripping has often marred burlesque dancing, but industry professionals claim it’s all about dressing up and embracing glamour with old Vegas style entertainment.

Alex Proud, founder of the Proud Group, told Marie Claire: ‘Burlesque has risen as entertainment form because it appeals to an older generation bored with traditional nightclubs. It offers the gentle sexual tweaking of the Carry On era and is inclusive for men and women.’

Inspired by the success of films like the Moulin Rouge, the burlesque scene has burst out of minority shows and in to popular culture over the past decade with club nights and dance classes popping up all over the UK.

The Proud Group offer cutting edge burlesque around the country from Cabaret Camden to the Brighton Ballroom, encouraging a dress-up social scene not seen since the heyday of Leigh Bowery, Blitz and the New romantics of the 1980s.


Despite the strip club stereotype, the art of burlesque has a majority audience of women with 80 per cent of Proud Cabaret’s cliental being female, out to enjoy the glorification of the feminine form.

‘Some people think it’s empowering, some just think it’s an excuse to get your kit off. That’s great – most art creates debate – but that doesn’t mean it’s about adult entertainment,’ says Mr Proud.

So what do you think? Should we embrace live cabaret and a return to ‘Carry On era’ sexuality? Is burlesque dancing a glamorous sisterhood or just posh girls stripping? Let us know your thoughts in the box below.

And if you fancy experiencing burlesque for yourself why not head down to Matter at the O2 on New Year’s Eve and enjoy aerial stunts and risqué glamour as Proud presents CIRQUE! For tickets please visit http://bit.ly/proudnye


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