General English


  • A theatrical or cabaret performance in which a woman (usually)undresses herself slowly and provocatively to music. This erotic entertainmentwas introduced to US burlesque shows in about 1920 to counteractthe lure of films; its effect, however, was to provoke tougher censorshiplaws that led to the closure of many burlesque houses. Traditionalburlesque-style stripping continues today in some nightclubs, notably those of New Orleans's French Quarter, and has recently seen something of a revival. The performer is variously called a 'striptease dancer', 'striptease artiste', 'stripper', 'exotic dancer', or 'ecdysiast' (a term coined in 1940by H. L. Mencken). The most famous and elegant stripper was GypsyRose Lee, who became the subject of the Broadway musicalGypsy (1959; filmed in 1962).