Visual Encyclopedia

Burlesque

Burlesque is a literary, dramatic or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects. The word derives from the Italian ', which, in turn, is derived from the Italian ' – a joke, ridicule or mockery.

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Great promo showing the burlesque dancers that are part of a local San Francisco troupe performing weekly.

Contributed by Kathryn Vercillo

An example of humorous striptease burlesque, a number performed by Miss Andrea (a play on the word "misandry") at Burlesque Beta in Athens, GA.

Contributed by Killian Cat-rah Ross

Burlesque doesn't just have to be striptease, as most people think; the main characteristic is variety. Burlesque Beta is a monthly burlesque show in Athens, GA. Here is my first ukulele act, Meat Loaf's "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)," displaying the variety and parody contained in burlesque acts.

Contributed by Killian Cat-rah Ross

Advice from a 30s burlesque dancer on "How a Wife Should Undress," from LIFE Magazine: "According to LIFE, the photos were taken at a class at the Allen Gilbert School of Undressing. Women were told that 'many a marriage ends in divorce court because the wife grows sloppy and careless in the bedroom.' The best way for a woman to disrobe, according to Gilbert, was 'neatly sliding her dress down over her hips and gracefully stepping out of it.'"

Contributed by Killian Cat-rah Ross

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