burlesque as high vs. low culture


What’s on my mind is where does the burlesque community stand with high versus low culture? Taking a look at history, ballet dancers have always been the most pristine, elite status standing group in dance but in our current political climate, the dominant class are those that speak out on political issues – that is what burlesque does naturally. I was speaking to my Republican friend who voiced that the left would never be the ruling class on their social media platform; I quickly messaged her saying I believed they were, and they agreed but in public did not want to admit they understood this. 

What upsets this person most? Those speaking up against the high culture class (the one they fall into) and rebelling asking for better role models, asking not to fit the patriarchal guild way of thinking, asking to be who they are. This individual enjoys those that stay laid back and do not question or challenge the money makers and the messages they promote. Burlesque is the rebellion the high-status individuals (such as this friend) feel threatened by.

Surprisingly with all the hype ballet dancers have received since they could dance on pointe, burlesque dancers make the most in the dance industry. 

Burlesque dancers are reclaiming their sense of agency through their bodies just the way they are designed. Burlesque dancers show up as who they are with what they can bring to the table. I will be covering a dancer who is a voluptuous woman. She performs a piece that consists of workout gear to Olivia Newton John’s “Let’s Get Physical.” She comes out with a bedazzled shake weight and mimics a sexually driven motion and us as adults spectating understand the text. She teases her active participants stripping one article of clothing off with finesse at a time, eventually getting down to her G-string with a full view of her gluteus maximus. She turns around with pride knowing that we understand these movements were all intentional before she exits the stage. Her message as a burlesque dancer is an embedded site of resistance: she knows she’s not the size 2 that every woman has been instructed to be and she likes it that way, and honestly, so does the audience. 


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