The impression that most people have about the world of burlesque is that it’s a sensational world filled with pasties, tulle, wigs, tassels, boas, and bustiers. Today you get to meet a handful of the props men and women like Dr. Gingersnaps and Dolly Longlegs flaunt on stage, when they’re embracing characters that harken back to the vaudevillian spirit of yore.
For a practice that began, in a much simpler form, a few hundred years ago, burlesque has more recently morphed into an art form for the socially and culturally adventurous. What was once a type of parody that incorporated risqué theatrical techniques, is now a genre-bending, dance-meets-comedy-meets-striptease performance brand widely accepted as an empowering and ever-political kind of art.
As a result, the transformation from contemporary artist (meaning, the individual behind the costume) to his or her burlesque persona (the tassel-baring provocateur who takes the stage), can be beautifully diverse.