Bring back some good or bad memories


July 30, 2012

Victorian Burlesque Dancers: 30 Incredible Vintage Portraits of ‘Exotic’ Dancers From the 1890s

Most people think that "burlesque" means female strippers walking a runway to a bump and grind beat. But that only fits the form in its declining years. At its best, burlesque was a rich source of music and comedy that kept America, audiences laughing from 1840 through the 1960s.

Some sources try to wrap burlesque in a mantle of pseudo-intellectual respectability. Yes, it involved transgressive comedy and songs, but the primary attraction of burlesque was sex... in the form of ribald humor and immodestly dressed women. Although many dismissed burlesque as the tail-end of show business, its influence reaches through the development of popular entertainment into the present.

In the 19th century, the term "burlesque" was applied to a wide range of comic plays, including non-musicals. Beginning in the 1840s, these works entertained the lower and middle classes in Great Britain and the United States by making fun of (or "burlesquing") the operas, plays and social habits of the upper classes. These shows used comedy and music to challenge the established way of looking at things.

(via Charles McClaghy Collection)


  1. Based on how they dress, the exotic woman dancers back then, doesn't look like they were one actually. If that is the kind of fashion statement for exotic woman dancers before, I wonder if how would male strippers perth look like back then.

  2. Did you notice that not one of those girls has a space between their legs. No thin women!




Browse by Decades

Popular Posts


09 10