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A review from an *actual* burlesque professional
on April 7, 2017
Same recycled plot line as almost every rom com, and it touches on most of the cliches - small town girl trying to make it, she and a guy like each other but pretend not to at first and then have a miscommunication and OH NO! What if they don't get together?! And there's a mean girl.
Music and costumes are undeniably fun, I'll give them that.
But apart from that, the writers and producers should be ashamed of themselves. Burlesque is a real thing in cities across the world with real humans doing it, and this movie decided to pay NO regard either to what classic burlesque was nor the resurgence that has happened since the 1990s.
Here are some things you should know:
•Burlesque is so much more than sexy dancing, it can be comedic, or emotive - rooted in vaudeville, it is a form of storytelling
• Most burlesque dancers are not professionally trained. And we come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. It is an art form that in most communities celebrates feminism, consent and body positivity.
• There is literally nothing new or provocative about singing during burlesque. This happens in almost every show. (The movie would have you think it's like this jaw dropper novel idea.)
• Apart from showgirl venues in Paris, NYC, las Vegas etc, most burlesque performers don't perform nightly at a venue or have large production budgets. In most cities, it's hard enough to fill a weekly or monthly show.
• Most of us have day jobs and even learn to sew and rhinestone ourselves. Unlike stripping, it is usually done out of passion, not for money - it is hard to make enough just to break even on good costumes and props, let alone to live off of.
• in most cities, you can expect a burlesque show to have a mix of solos and group choreo, and typically, solos "peel" down to pasties and undies or merkin.
If you are intrigued by modern burlesque, for the love of goddess, go support your local performers and see what it is actually about before watching the dumb movie. Look beyond Dita and Suicide Girls, and look up videos on YouTube of Burlesque Hall of Fame (bhof), Michelle L'Amour, Ula Uberbussen, April OPeel, Vagina Jenkins, Jo Boobs, Lola LeSoleil, Rosie Cheeks.
Burlesque is at your finger tips and you don't need this movie to reach out and touch it (just don't touch your performers ;)