Burlesque Dancers: Don't Call Us Strippers!

Burlesque Dancers Question No. 1: What's the difference between strippers, burlesque performers and exotic dancers? Question No. 2: Does it really matter?

Yes, it does, according to burlesque professionals in Alberta, Canada, where the Gaming and Liquor Commission lumps them with strippers and exotic dancers, labeling all their acts "nude entertainment."

As such, they all are prohibited from performing less than one-meter apart, and no contact with each other or the audience. Those are often key elements of burlesque performances, as anyone who has seen Cabaret or the Cher/Christina Aquilera movie knows.

But the audience interaction in burlesque is much more chaste than what strippers and exotic dancers normally do, according to performers. Burlesque performers don't do lap dances, they don't do body shots and they don't invite patrons to put tips in provocative places. They also don't get naked. Fans call it pure performance art. So why is this distinction so important?

Local authorities have been cracking down on burlesque performances lately, according to Fast Forward Weekly. Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission inspectors and police officers have been showing up at burlesque establishments and noting violations. The performance sites could have their liquor licenses revoked if they don't completely comply with the laws regulating "nude entertainment." They've had to change their acts to accommodate the law.

Burlesque supporters in the area are campaigning to change the law so they're not included in the "nude entertainment" category. Law enforcement workers who have to attend the shows and watch for violations are likely ambivalent about that change.

Next:A Day in the Life of a Burlesque Dancer

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