In preparation for our Burlesque show in July, we here at Titania Soho have been thinking more about this wonderful dance of seduction. So we thought it would be nice to provide you with a brief history.
Read on, if you will.
The word Burlesque is a dramatic, or musical work of movement and art deriving from the Italian burtesco, which in turn is derived from the Italian Burma-meaning a joke or mockery. Often seen as a form of bawdy theatrical satire, today Burlesque is one of the most celebrated works of art in modern culture.
Dating back to the early 16th century, Burlesque began its flight into popular culture in 17th century Italy and France, and later England, where its term was used in works by playwrights such as Chaucer and Shakespeare.
Arriving firmly in Britain in the late 18th century, Burlesque was aimed squarely at the middle classes of educated elite who understood the theatrics of the double-entendre laced jokes that this rather daring piece of art seemed to encourage. Adding to its risque nature, performers often played lead male roles that proved popular with audiences.
In 1868, this wonderful display of art in movement, became so popular that a British actress called Lydia Thompson formed a group called the British blondes who entertained American audiences with their risque performances that consisted of wearing skirts above the knee! Causing a major sensation, theatre owners across the country soon realised its appeal, not to mention the money to be made from this rather daring display of nubile femininity.
But whilst British Burlesque proved popular with Stateside audiences, the stark contrast between the two was patently obvious. Keeping within its classical framework, British Burlesque utiliised a classical approach, while American Burlesque was far more bawdy.
With such conflicting imagery, its small wonder that by the 1930's, Burlesque began to fall out of favour with audiences, and the once clever and humorous routines became somewhat robust and obscene, leading to some theatres outlawing Burlesque altogether.
Since those pioneering days, Burlesque enjoyed a huge revival in the 1990's, with singing stars such as Kylie Minogue and Paloma Faith, who began bringing fan dancers and showgirls into their acts, and Burlesque firmly into the mainstream of public conscience.
Today, Burlesque remains as popular as ever and is Loved by both male and female audiences. Mixing vintage glamour, sexy seduction and tantalising allure, 21st Burlesque seems to speak of glamorous and exotic locales belonging to the Jet Set, to which a number of highly acclaimed dancers perform to-for a handsome fee of course.
And so it brings us two our very own show at Titania Soho-Titillation-A Teasing Tale of Burlesque and Song. Starring in what looks set to be an entertaining evening, are international Burlesque stars Chrys Columbine and Jolie Papillon.
Chrys Columbine is the only showgirl in the world to combine her skills as a classically trained pianist with the art of strip tease, whilst Jolie Papillon is an award-winning artist, and one of Europe's highly skilled showgirls.
But don't take a press cuttings word for it, why not come on down to Titania Soho on 31st July, and see for yourself!
Don't forget to check out both, Bar Titania Women and Guest Bar and Titania Soho Facebook pages for regular updates.
We look forward to seeing you then.