Thursday, August 26, 2010

Beautiful Burlesque

Burlesque star Dita Von Teese resurrected the art of Burlesque a few years ago, and these days London features a hugely popular Burlesque scene. Clubs such as Volupté and the Soho Revue Bar are renowned for their Burlesque nights, and now Bar 190 at The Gore Hotel is the first place in West London to host Burlesque Evenings. Bar 190 is proud to present Miss Polly Rae and the Hurly Burly Girlys, who within the past two years have become known as London's hottest Burlesque act, and recently won 'Best Troupe 2007' in the Ministry of Burlesque Awards. Click next to view our gallery of Miss Polly Rae and the Hurly Burly Girlys.

Burlesque refers to theatrical entertainment of broad and parodic humor, which usually consists of comic skits (and sometimes a striptease). While some authors assert that burlesque is a direct descendant of the Commedia dell'arte, the term 'burlesque' for a parody or comedy of manners appears about the same time as the first appearance of commedia dell'arte.

By the 1880s, burlesque had created some rules for defining itself:
  • Minimal costuming, often focusing on the female form.
  • Sexually suggestive dialogue, dance, plotlines and staging.
  • Quick-witted humor laced with puns, but lacking complexity.
  • Short routines or sketches with minimal plot cohesion across a show. 
 The popular burlesque show of the 1840s period eventually evolved into the strip tease which became the dominant ingredient of burlesque by the 1930s. In the 1930s, a social crackdown on burlesque shows led to their gradual downfall.

The shows had slowly changed from ensemble ribald variety performances, to simple performances focusing mostly on the strip tease. The end of burlesque and the birth of striptease was later dramatised in the entertaining film The Night They Raided Minsky's.

With its origins in nineteenth century music hall entertainments and vaudeville, in the early twentieth century burlesque emerged as a populist blend of satire, performance art, and adult entertainment, that featured strip tease and broad comedy acts that derived their name from the low comedy aspects of the literary genre known as burlesque.

 In burlesque, performers, usually female, often create elaborate sets with lush, colorful costumes, mood-appropriate music, and dramatic lighting.

Put simply, burlesque means "in an upside down style". Like its cousin, commedia dell'arte, burlesque turns social norms head over heels.

Burlesque is a style of live entertainment that encompasses pastiche, parody, and wit and traditionally encompasses a variety of acts such as dancing girls, chanson singers, comedians, mime artists, and strip tease artistes, all satirical and with a saucy edge.

 The strip tease element of burlesque became subject to extensive local legislation, leading to a theatrical form that titillated without falling foul of censors.

 Originally, burlesque featured shows that included comic sketches, often lampooning the social attitudes of the upper classes, alternating with dance routines

Burlesque originated in the 1840s, early in the Victorian Era, a time of culture clashes between the social rules of established aristocracy and a working-class society.

Burlesque often mocked established entertainment forms such as opera, Shakespearean drama, musicals, and ballet. The costuming (or lack thereof) increasingly focused on forms of dress considered inappropriate for polite society.

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