'What is the difference between burlesque and striptease? I don't really like to say that burlesque and stripping are totally different. I know a lot of burlesque dancers like to make sure you know that they are not strippers, they are burlesque artists, but I don't really agree with that. I don't think the term stripper is a bad word. Gypsy Rose Lee called herself a stripper, so if it was good enough for her it is good enough for me.'
Dita Von Teese, the 'queen of burlesque', on fame, fortune and feminism
'"People want to see burlesque as classier than contemporary striptease, and that's absolutely not the case. That demonstrates a total lack of knowledge of the history of burlesque," Butler says. "Burlesque halls were tough places for the time. These were raunchy performances, and these were women transgressing the norm of their time, challenging norms about beauty and what a woman could do. These were tough, tough ladies."'
The meaning of burlesque
'Most of the time they know what burlesque is. But the ones that don’t just ask what it is and you have to explain that it’s not stripping. It’s more like Vaudeville entertainment. What you usually get is “What’s the difference?” Burlesque is more the whole tease, what’s coming off, what’s underneath? Strippers are just in it for the money.'
On March 12 I'll be giving a presentation on a panel at NYU titled 'What is Burlesque? Art or Erotica or Ars Erotica?' My discussion will concern the differences between strip joint stripping and burlesque, and that's what I often end up discussing, not just in the articles I publish and during the panels in which I participate, but every single time I'm interviewed. I'm interviewed for an article or documentary frequently, sometimes several times a week, and I have yet to experience an interview where that question doesn't arise.
Personally, I don't think I can answer it by myself. All of the perspectives reflected above, whether or not they suit me, have some meaning, they come from somewhere.
So I'd like to include some perspectives other than my own about the differences between burlesque and strip joint stripping. Feel free to post in the comments, or to email me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org. The panel is on Wednesday, so the sooner I get it the better I can apply it. A sentence or two would be very useful. Also, if you'd mention the basis of your perspective--such as whether you're a burlesque performer, producer, audience member, friend, etc., and where you've seen burlesque and where you've seen strip joint stripping, that would be great!
And if you worry about offending me, you might not give me the diversity I need, so let 'er rip.