What is World Burlesque Day?

World Burlesque Day is an annual celebration of the art and history of burlesque, which takes place on April 26.

Burlesque is a form of performance art that has been around for centuries, and World Burlesque Day is a day dedicated to celebrating the history and art of this captivating art form.

We will explore the origins and evolution of burlesque, the significance of World Burlesque Day, and how you can celebrate this unique art form.

Where did Burlesque come from?

Burlesque has its roots in ancient Greece, where it was a form of theatrical satire. However, the modern form of burlesque emerged in the 19th century in Europe and the United States.

Burlesque shows typically featured bawdy humour, music, dance, and striptease performances.

These shows were popular among working-class audiences, and many performers used burlesque as a way to express their creativity and push the boundaries of social norms.

How has Burlesque evolved?

Over time, burlesque evolved and became more sophisticated, with elaborate costumes, choreography, and music.

In the 1920s and 1930s, burlesque shows were popular in the United States, and performers like Gypsy Rose Lee and Sally Rand became household names.

However, the popularity of burlesque declined in the 1950s and 1960s due to changing social attitudes and the rise of television.

In the 1990s, burlesque experienced a revival, with a new generation of performers embracing the art form and adding their own modern twists.

Today, burlesque is a thriving art form that continues to push the boundaries of what is possible on stage.

World Burlesque Day

The day was first established in 2020 by Sapphira, an artist, author and mental health ambassador. The date of the 26th of April 2020 was chosen to commemorate 50 years since the passing of Gypsy Rose Lee, an American star, and the day is in her honour.

The goal of World Burlesque Day is to celebrate the diversity, creativity, and inclusivity of burlesque and to raise awareness of the art form.

It is also a day to honour the pioneers of burlesque and the contributions they made to the art form.

How to Celebrate World Burlesque Day

There are many ways to celebrate World Burlesque Day, whether you are a seasoned burlesque performer or a newcomer to the art form.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Attend a burlesque show – Many cities around the world have burlesque shows that take place on a regular basis. Check your local listings and attend a show to experience the art form in person.
  2. Take a burlesque class – If you’re interested in learning how to perform burlesque, consider taking a class. Many dance studios offer burlesque classes that teach the basics of movement, costume design, and stage presence.
  3. Watch burlesque performances online – Many burlesque performers have taken their shows online due to the pandemic, and you can now watch performances from the comfort of your own home. Check out websites like Burlesque Galaxy or The Burlesque Channel to discover new performers and shows.
  4. Dress up in burlesque-inspired fashion – Burlesque fashion is all about glamor and extravagance. Dress up in your best burlesque-inspired outfit to celebrate World Burlesque Day.
  5. Read a book about burlesque – There are many books that explore the history and art of burlesque. Check out titles like “The Burlesque Handbook” by Jo Weldon or “Burlesque and the Art of the Teese/Fetish and the Art of the Teese” by the famous Dita Von Teese.

Who are the most famous burlesque dancers?

There have been many famous burlesque dancers throughout history, but one of the most iconic and influential performers was Gypsy Rose Lee. Lee was born in Seattle, Washington in 1911 and began performing in vaudeville shows at a young age alongside her sister, June Havoc.

In the 1930s, Lee became famous for her witty and sophisticated burlesque performances, which often included striptease acts that were more suggestive than explicit. She was known for her sharp wit, sophisticated stage presence, and glamorous costumes, and she quickly became one of the most popular and highest-paid performers of her time.

Lee also wrote several books, including her memoir “Gypsy” which was later adapted into a successful Broadway musical. She continued to perform well into her 50s and remained a beloved figure in the world of burlesque until her death in 1970.

Other famous burlesque dancers include Sally Rand, Blaze Starr, Tempest Storm, and Dita Von Teese. Each of these performers brought their own unique style and flair to the art of burlesque and helped to shape the art form into what it is today.

Feature Image by Victoria_Watercolor from Pixabay