For the Love of the Dance … Not for the Money

When I tell some people that I’m a burlesque dancer, they automatically think I’m some kind of sex trade worker or at the very least, loose sexually. This can’t be further from the truth. In all my years doing strip tease telegrams in New York city and the five buroughs, my motivation was never about having sexual power or even sexual prowness. I grew up loving the the strip tease after seeing the movie “Gypsy” with Natalie Wood and Rosalind Russell. Later I put myself through college as a showgirl in Nevada and became even more drawn to the idea that the famale form could be celebrated with beauty and taste. That is what I always tried to delever in my strip tease performances. With the emergence of the Neo Burlesque movement here in New York and in other cities, I find that the Burlesque dance is as valad a form of entertainment as anything else out there. It can be thought provolking and seductive without being vulger gross or pornographic.  Pornography! That is the problem that the burlesque dancers today face and what I faced in the 1980s doing strip-tease-telegrams.  For most men a strip tease has to be a an act of pornography or at least a prelude to some sexual act of they’re not getting their money’s worth.  It’s a shame that so many people view the strip tease in this limited way. Why not celebrate the beauty of the strip tease as performance art? I believe that the strip tease involves using everything in one’s creative arsenol in delaying that final article of clothing from coming off. Because everyone who does a strip tease has different talents, no two strip tease performances can ever be the same. It’s as individual as a person’s thumb print. I read somewhere that the difference between a stripper and a burlesque dancer is that the stripper dances for money and the burlesque dancer dances for appluse. I have been fortunate enough in my line of work to be able to do both. As a professional singer I can sing as I perform my burlesque routines and that allows me to do singing burlesque-a-grams and allows me to create dances around a certain song or birthday theme. However I can honestly say that the strip tease is so beautiful to me that I think I would merely do it for the applause if I had to.

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