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Burlesque Show in the Middle of a Party

2 posts in one weekend, hmmm. 

Last night I went with a few friends to a party in town - a New England town of about 30,000 with people who are generally politically progressive but socially conservative.  Sensible LLBean clothing and hiker gear is the norm, conservative suits during weekdays for the lawyers and other professionals who work in town.

We went to a movie first and showed up at the party around 8PM, I believe it started at 6.  It was to celebrate the completion of road renovations and sidewalk changes on Main St. - construction that had taken place for 1-2 years.  I believe a combination of commercial real estate agencies and some local businesses "sponsored" the party.  It was in an old ballroom-type theater, open bar - lots of drink choices, no cover or guest list, live band playing cover songs.  Most of the party goers were professionals in their 40's, 50's and 60's.  My friends and I - mostly in our 30's - stood out as youngish.

Since the booze was flowing free, the party seemed to be in full swing when we arrived, just as the band started playing.  People got on the dance floor right away and I was having fun dancing with my friends and other people I didn't know, mainly women.  H was chilling at home working on his truck, so I knew I wasn't going to stay too long.

The band took a break around 9.30 and a guy in a suit arrived onstage announcing a Burlesque Show.  Then there were about 4 burlesque acts, the first with women in PJs eventually in lingerie, the second with a woman who twirled a baton in various ways, the third I don't remember and the fourth made me really sad.  A woman came on stage looking completely out of it.  She was probably either intoxicated or under the influence of something else because her eyes weren't focusing and she didn't seem to be aware of what was going on.  She was probably late 40's - early 50's and eventually stripped down to underwear and tassles on her breasts.  The crowd kept moving further and further from the stage.  A young tipsy female partygoer, not part of the show, went up to the stage close to the woman and gave her a tip, on the floor of the stage. I think at the point people were uncomfortable and didn't know what to do - the young drunk woman left the stage area soon thereafter.  That's when the friend I drove with and I decided to leave.

I've been to strip clubs in the past - I had a boyfriend when I was in college who was into them and I believe I went about 3 times in different cities, twice alone with him and once with him and a few friends. I don't believe we stayed longer than 20 minutes in any of them. For some reason those didn't bother me.  But I was also a lot younger and haven't seen the inside of one in at least 15 years. The women seemed okay with their work and were relatively good at it. 

This particular show seemed out of place and not right for the crowd.  I could understand it for a more private party or a younger audience, but it just left me with a sickness to my stomach. I've also been to the theater and seen performances like Cabaret, which was a strong contrast to this particular show. With one or two exceptions, the women didn't seem to be enjoying themselves and frankly weren't that great at dancing or appearing seductive.  The woman who seemed to be on drugs did not seem comfortable in her body and appeared more desperate and sad than anything else.  She was also older than the other dancers.

I'm not sure how I was supposed to feel about the show, which is why I'm writing here.  Have any of you been to burlesque shows?  Was it more of an artistic performance with the audience sitting down?  This seemed like stripping under the guise of burlesque, with most of the "performers" looking like they didn't have a lot of other options.  What would you have done in this situation?  What are your thoughts on strip clubs? 

Re: Burlesque Show in the Middle of a Party

  • Burlesque is not the same as stripping. I used to run Burlesque shows with a friend who had a troupe. It is about comedy, entertainment and the art of the tease. There are even men who do it. 

    Most of the shows we put on had various elements, comedians, musicians, and the actual dancers. A proper Burlesque show has elements of vaudevillian shows.
  • Wait this was a public town party? I'm very confused. Was this an advertised event or was it an invite-only?

    I've been to strip clubs, I have no problem with them. I have no problem with my H going to them. But I've always know when people would be taking their clothes off. It was never a surprise.

    And like @TrixieJess said above burlesque shows do not equal stripping. There is a performance, and the shows I've been to (only a few) people were sitting in the audience, no one was giving money to the performers (like you would at a strip club), but again everyone knew what the point of the performance was. 

  • vikinganna87vikinganna87 member
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    edited November 2016
    It was a public town party - an advertised event.  It was a surprise and although it was called a Burlesque show it didn't feel like one because it wasn't very professional, the costumes weren't good or burlesque-y and the women dancing and taking their clothes off seemed down and out and sad.  I guess I would say it was worse than any show I've seen on stage, at least from an artistic and aesthetic perspective. I was confused - I think other people were too - and it felt depressing. 

    @TrixieJess There were no elements of vaudevillian shows.  This seems like a stark contrast to the Burlesque shows you ran.

    ETF typo
  • It sounds like the burlesque show they had wasn't a very good one.  Burlesque and stripping are different forms of entertainment.  But they are both forms of entertainment where the performers should not be intoxicated (or whatever else was going on with that one person) and the performers should at least pretend to be enthusiastic and having fun.

    I've been to a burlesque show once...but it was a SHOW, where tickets were bought exactly for that event.  It was pretty costumes.  Most of the performers, in addition to dancing, would also sing.  The attendees were sitting in seats.

    I was also at a swing dancing event, that was more like a small party, where a woman hired for the event did a few burlesque acts and also taught the party goers some of those moves.  It was a surprise, but totally appropriate for the event and guests.

    As an aside, the musical Stomp happened to be in town at that time.  And one of the guests at the party knew some of the cast members and invited them to come over when they were done with the play.  OMG, they were FANTASTIC.  They were doing the kind of swing dancing you see in movies.  Where the guys where throwing the girls around and catching them. 

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  • @vikinganna87 - it doesn't sound like Burlesque. Burlesque is super professional and fun. It doesn't even sound like stripping (which I don't have an issue with). It sounds as though it was someone's idea of what "Burlesque" should be and twisted it. 

    All the shows I've been to have had been highly entertaining. Extremely bawdy and lots of fun. If you get a minute, and you aren't at work, Google Boylesque, so much fun!
  • @vikinganna87 - it doesn't sound like Burlesque. Burlesque is super professional and fun. It doesn't even sound like stripping (which I don't have an issue with). It sounds as though it was someone's idea of what "Burlesque" should be and twisted it. 

    All the shows I've been to have had been highly entertaining. Extremely bawdy and lots of fun. If you get a minute, and you aren't at work, Google Boylesque, so much fun!
    Now that's something that looks awesome!  I'm reasonably certain that the troupe in my town isn't endorsed by or supported by or even aware of the Center for Sex Positive Culture.
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