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The Rise of New Burlesque

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Still from Burlesque, the new film starring Christina Aguilera - Photo courtesy Sony Pictures
Still from Burlesque, the new film starring Christina Aguilera - Photo courtesy Sony Pictures

Burlesque as a form of entertainment has been around for well over a century. In the last decade or so, new generations of performers have given new twists and new life to burlesque.

Risque, comic, exotic, erotic and acrobatic all describe New Burlesque — or Neo-Burlesque if you want to get really technical. Combining elements of burlesque, cabaret and even musicals, clubs and troupes have sprung up all over the country, although the major concentrations are found on the East and West coasts.

SHINE, A Burlesque Musical has been a hit with audiences in Seattle and New York. New York has a thriving burlesque scene. You can find books about burlesque. And a new movie, Burlesque, starring Christina Aguilera, Cher, Kristen Bell, Stanley Tucci and Alan Cumming is slated for release in November.

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If Hollywood has taken notice, you know that burlesque has long since arrived. The new form has been around long enough that dance studios offer classes. An entire blog is devoted to all things burlesque in San Francisco. There’s a list of the Top 25 Best Burlesque Web sites, and there even exists a Burlesque Hall of Fame. In Las Vegas, no less. There’s plenty of life yet in the old girl.