Burlesque striptease is a subgenre of the Classic Burlesque style.

A burlesque striptease is similar yet different than a stripclub striptease. The biggest difference is the reason/goal. In burlesque stripping is used to tease an audience and/or to support the story, always leaving them wanting more. In stripclubs stripping is to please the audience and evoke sexual feelings. A burlesque performer strips because he/she/them wants it and is not obliged to do so, while a stripclub dancer strips because the audience demands it. One form is not better than the other, they are just different views on the same technique.

The origin of striptease in burlesque

Who thinks of burlesque thinks spontaneously of striptease, but stripping on stage only became part of burlesque since 1920s. Before the 1920s striptease was not a part of burlesque. In the 1920s burlesque acts where build around a performer dancing/singing and/or parades of girls. There are 2 origin stories about burlesque performers accidental stripping and evoking such a big aaw from the audience they decided to keep doing it. Legends says that in 1917 Mea Dix accidentally removed her collar during an act on stage of the Minsky brothers venue. Another story tells of Hinda Wausau shimming so hard her clothing came off.

In the 1930s the use of big props like a bubble/balloon, feather fans, stola/boa became a hit. Performers played with the illusion of striptease and nudity by dressing in mesh body with marking en pastie illusion. Another playful take on a burlesque striptease is the ‘psychology of a stripteaser’ act from Gypsy Rose Lee (the intellectual stripper) where she stripped out of numerous skirts while doing a mocking monologue.

Striptease burlesque acts as we know it today find their origin in the 1950s. Performances evolved to elaborate 20 minutes strip-acts with a lot of tease, slowly arousing, immediate dazzle, stripping until lingerie, putting on a large negligee or duster and start teasing all over again until the final reveal. A classic combo was a slow striptease followed by an energetic bump and grind part.

Burlesque striptease

In a burlesque striptease it is important to take your time to emphasize the piece of clothing you are removing. Visibly draw attention to it, play and tease with it before you strip out of it. The technique of actually taking it off depends on the item, from a quick glove peel to a slow gown drop. After the strip part, you can still play around with the item before you throw it aside and show of that newly revealed bodypart/costume piece.
Want to make it a big strip? Use the STAR method: Setup (draw attention), Tease, Actually take it off & Reveal.

There is no specific music genre to use for a burlesque striptease, but mostly more slow, sultry and sensual music works well, like jazz, big band, lounge and blues.

Burlesque striptease costumes & icons

A classic burlesque striptease outfit has a lot of glamour with fringe, feathers, sparkle and layers to take off. Think of a decadent robe, a dress or skirt with matching corset and decorated lingerie, pasties, stockings and heels.
To have enough playful elements, a lot of use is made of attributes such as gloves and a stola/boa.

The picture shows a stunning exemple by burlesque icon Gypsy Rose Lee.

Strip away shame and reveal your beauty!

Surrender to your sensual side!

Lilith D’Licious
Headmistress of Sinners Dollhouse

The costumes of burlesque – Coleen Scott

The burlesque handbook by Jo Weldon
Pretty things by Liz Goldwyn
Burlesque, the art of tease by Dita Von Teese