Do you think you know burlesque? The word “burlesque” derived from the Italian word “burla” which means “joke, ridicule or mockery”. Developed in 17th century Europe, it meant to caricature the manner or spirit of serious works and was popular in literature (e.g., retrospectively on works of Shakespeare or by Cervantes himself), classical music (written by Strauss, Stravinsky, Bach and Shostakovich themselves), and theater, assuming the audience’s familiarity with the original work, and thus not targeting the plebs. Burlesque shows were introduced to the US in the 1840s. This image is of American Musical Theater dancers who took part in sketches with sexually suggestive dialogue that gave way to more striptease elements, forming the modern form of popular burlesque. Take a look at Zorz Studios’ contemporary take on a burlesque dancer here.
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Image: Charles H. McCaghy Collection