What To Cover When Uncovering : Showgirls May Only Show So Much
The incremental revealing of flesh, particularly when combined with the serving of alcohol, has always been scrutinized with serious moral intent by governmental bodies. Lawmakers spend hours poring over every pore, but it’s all for the public good -- so they say.
When I was a touring feature dancer in the 1980s/90s I was doing 15- 20 minute sets of 3-5 songs. I had to have different endings for each routine, depending on where I was going. In some counties I could end fully nude; in others I had to finish in a bikini. In some I would do things like have people paint on me or drink champagne off my body; in others they couldn't come within three feet of me. My favorite incidence was when I was performing in a city in New York State. Feature dancers of the time posed for Polaroids with the customers, for a fee. Inside this club the customers had to stand three feet from me when I was topless, but away from the strip joint's property I could be topless in public, so we would walk next door to a parking lot and I'd do the topless photos there in the open.
When I hear people relay striptease history, they often make the mistake of assuming that burlesque at any given time was performed the same way in every burlesque venue of that era. The limits of striptease were determined by state, and usually county, legislation, rather than federal legislation.
Knowing and following your local regulations is imperative if you want your venue to keep its liquor license and its employees to keep their jobs! The law are complex and irrational. The laws are as capricious and unnecessary as the policies on social media. In Nashville, for instance, you have to cover your underboob and gluteal fold -- a bizarre requirement which, on the up side, has led to some genius innovations in costuming.
Check out New York's laws here, and look up your own locale on this site: