The Haps: Oh La La, A Burlesque Show

| Scene Events Columnist

What is sexy? Is it tight, black lace? Coy confidence? Showing a little skin? In the world of Burlesque shows, sexy can be any of these things as long as it keeps your eyes glued to the tantalizing dancer. Burlesque shows are strip shows with sass that depend more on teasing the audience than wham-bamming them with nudity. Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely nudity in Burlesque, but it’s all about the style.

St. Louis actually has a pretty vibrant Burlesque scene. Venues like Albino Alley Cat, 1311 Washington Ave., Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., and the Fox Hole at Atomic Cowboy, 4140 Manchester Rd., host regular shows and dancers like Lola van Ella are local legends. While traditionally Burlesque shows can include everything from beautiful ladies to sideshow acts, nowadays, the main attraction is the girls. Troops of dancers will travel around the country to perform.

Although the dancers do remove their clothes during the performances, the etiquette at a Burlesque show is very different from that of a strip club. For one thing, it is not customary to tip Burlesque dancers. These girls consider what they do to be strictly a performance. It’s erotic in nature and meant to arouse, but it’s more a form of art exhibiting the body and sexuality. The dancers are still highly responsive to the audience’s reactions and will flirt and sass them. The atmosphere at shows is always light-hearted, one that embraces sexuality instead of making it taboo or embarrassing.

But what can you expect at a Burlesque show? Well, there are no die-hard rules about what an act will contain. Each dancer selects her own routine, costume and props. Gravity Plays Favorite’s act involves a sexy duo in fringe climbing and contorting themselves around a pole. GoGo McGreggor, billed as the gorgeous gal from Glasgow, is all about dancing demurely around with a riding crop. Then there’s Lola van Ella, the Derriere Beyond Compare, who can make a pair of elbow length gloves seems hotter than any of Victoria’s Secret’s.

“There’s a reason why Lola’s known as the best around,” said senior, Veronica Harwin.

All of the acts have as much flair as the assumed personalities of the dancers. The only real similarities between acts are the high heels, the pin-up girl hair and make up, and the fact that the dancers end their performance wearing nothing more than pasties.

Burlesque is all about making sexuality open and fun. The dancers put on a show that’s flirty and celebrates everything that sexy can be. So go on, head out to a show and embrace the tassel twirling good time.