NEW WAVE: Burlesque theater started its revival in the 1990s.
RIGA - What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “burlesque”? Is it the movie with Christina Aguilera and Cher that came out in 2010? Or maybe it is something that has to do with women doing show dances? This time it is kind of a mixed combination of both, just minus Cher and Aguilera.
On Dec.10 in Riga at the Kongresu Nams, for the very first time in Latvia, the biggest burlesque show in Europe from London’s West End will give performances of its show “An Evening of Burlesque,” including the biggest burlesque stars of the world. It will be possible to see the show in Valmiera, a city in northern Latvia, as well on Dec.12.
The history of burlesque brings us back to the 19th century, to both the United States and Great Britain, where shows were created to entertain and keep the audience laughing the whole time. Although the word “burlesque” was used even earlier, during the Victorian era, it had a quite different meaning and usage then, but they shared some similarities. The shows in the 19th century did not involve female dancers dancing and stripping in front of the audiences at first; all these things started a few decades later.
The word “burlesque” was used to describe, and to apply to, a wide range of different comedy shows and not all of these shows had to be musicals. Nowadays the musical part may be of almost as much importance as the theatrical part… well, maybe not as much, but you get the idea: without music, the shows would be completely different.
At the beginning of the 1840s the shows brought together people of the lower and middle classes in both Great Britain and the United States. These shows were also a way to make fun of the operas, theater and other social entertainment habits that the upper society had. By using comedy and music, these shows tried to change the way people looked at things; they tried to influence the current opinions of everything.
The shows had Shakespearean works, and some of the great operas were even turned into burlesque skits. And then, already by the 1860s, British burlesque started a new trend: they added underdressed women to the shows so the audiences would stay interested. So this is how, in the course of time, burlesque became a synonym for striptease. Nowadays burlesque is best known to be a type of musical theater, similar to a musical, cabaret or vaudeville. The show “An Evening of Burlesque” that is visiting Latvia is based on clever dialogues and monologues with an erotic undertone, music and impressive female dance performances.
Burlesque was reborn in the 1990s, when it experienced a dynamic uplift and a completely new wave of popularity. The elements of burlesque were even used in show business by such stars as Dita Von Teese, Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani and the stage artist Pink, who had their videos created in the style of burlesque. Nowadays there is this trend to do photo-shoots in this kind of style as well.
In 2010, the movie “Burlesque” came out in theaters where Aguilera and Cher were in the leading roles. And the legendary movie “Moulin Rouge,” with Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman as the leading actors, is a story about the magnificence of these burlesque shows during its days of glory.
The producer of “An Evening of Burlesque” is Michael Taylor, who has created such world-famous musical spectacles as “The Magic of Motown” and “Thank You for the Music.” The stars are Ivy Paige, Miss Ooh La Lou, Miss Felixy Splits, Bettsie Bon Bon, Liberty Sweet, AJ James and Chloe Lloyd. True admirers of burlesque don’t need any more comment on these names. And now even Latvia’s audience will have the opportunity to see and appreciate the stars of West End, who have received great ovations and admiration over the entire world while touring.
“An Evening of Burlesque” is said to be a pearl of genre for neo-burlesque, where with the colorful outfits, clever directing and these days’ biggest stars of burlesque perform. It is a show that radiates a feminine vibe with a glamorously erotic feeling added to it, which gives the audience real choreography, theater, irony and a mix of tasteful “cocktail” of erotica without exaggeration and immodesty. The show has had record-breaking sold-out performances all over the world.
“Educating audiences that don’t have their own scenes is a driving concern in every show that I create,” says creative director Sean Mooney. “It’s a shame when people end up paying ten or fifteen pounds to see a bunch of amateur girls who think buying a corset makes them a burlesque dancer.” The creators of the show say that they have dedicated and put a lot of effort into making the show special and unforgettable for their audience.
Taylor says, “The show doesn’t need a translation, while having such charm, great show dynamic, expressive body language. We are proud to be able to give the cream of burlesque for such a great audience around the world.”
If you want to experience something extravagant, watch attractive female dancers in glamorous outfits who perform in a show that is said to be unforgettable and extremely entertaining, this should be a good way to spend your evening. o