Who doesn’t dream of seeing Dita Von Teese and Carmen Electra wearing nothing but an enticing minuscule outfit on the stage of an alluring burlesque show? Have you ever watched the movie Burlesque? It does offer a small glimpse into the backstage of neo-burlesque clubs, but nothing prepared us for the real thing. Nearly nude girls shaking it on hot numbers with their tantalizing moves, inviting you to come so close to the stage that it begins to feel like a sin. But who on Earth can turn them down?
Burlesque has its origins in 19th century England, when Victorian Burlesque was a form of entertainment blending elements of comic theater, parody, and musical, all transformed and exaggerated until the point they become grotesque. Gradually, burlesque performers began to appear on the stages of musical theaters, playing political and social satires for the middle classes. This has all been preserved under the name of classic burlesque, and such shows are still performed today by troupes of professionals with a thorough understanding of the concept. Striptease entered the scene in the 1890’s, when Paris’ Moulin Rouge began making a stir. From then on, striptease has been one of the main ingredients in burlesque shows in Europe. It is only in America that these shows are strictly associated with stripping. Neo-burlesque is the revival of traditional burlesque performances, encapsulating a variety of styles, from striptease to modern dancing and dramatic or comic scenes.
The burlesque has always been a delicate subject. Many associate it with nakedness, obscenity, decadence, and immorality. Nevertheless, the uninhibited atmosphere, glamor, exquisite jazz music, and delicious cocktails lure the public, and are enough to make anyone change their perspective of the stage. With so many beauties in lavish costumes and great sense of artfulness that highlights the wonderful curves of the female body, are you sure you can handle what follows?
10. Le Scandal: Average Ticket $60
The longest-running burlesque show in New York, Le Scandal is a tasty and intriguing cabaret performance seasoned with a dash of circus and variety acts. They all have one thing in common: plenty of toplessness. Talented circus performers and professional dancers will put on a spectacle that will simply blow you away. Classic and neo-burlesque pieces complement each other, comic at times, accompanied by live music from Le Scandal orchestra. Considering its notoriety, tickets for Le Scandal are quite cheap, only $60 on average per person. What you get in return? Sword swallowing, human contortion, belly dancers, rope tricks, trapeze striptease artists, and edgy cabaret in a variety show you’ll never forget.
9. Hubba Hubba Revue: Average Ticket $60
“If you’re going to San Francisco…” Remember the song? The next line should be “be sure to go to the Hubba Hubba burlesque show.” San Francisco has a reputation of being more liberated than the rest of the country. With a slight touch of a variety show, Hubba Hubba Revue is performed in the hippest clubs around the Bay Area in San Francisco, such as the DNA Lounge and Uptown Club. As the sexy girls strip down, the entire room is entertained by funny, humor-filled, and sophisticated cabaret. The performance is all about letting your imagination run wild. For example, one of their most recent shows, called Old Time Religion, is an intriguing blend of sacred and profane, bringing forth human sacrifice, featuring Jesus and Satan amidst fleshy appearances. Who knew the Bible could show so much skin?
8. Doc Wasabassco Burlesque: Average Ticket $70
Performing on the East Coast, Doc Wassabaasco’s burlesque troupe puts on couple-friendly and risk-free fun shows. Acclaimed as the “Kingpin of Burlesque” and the greatest monthly burlesque show in New York, Doc Wassabasco’s sexy performers cross all gender boundaries with their innovative acts. The troupe of both male and female performers travels throughout the tri-state area, main venues including Manhattan, the Union Hall at Park Slope and the Palace of Wonders in Washington D.C. However, the show is much more than just girls tantalizingly taking their clothes off, it is about quality entertainment, from a 70’s style to avant-garde acts performed to live music.
8. X Burlesque: Average Ticket $70
There’s burlesque and there’s Vegas burlesque. Sin City is all about superlatives, making all shows bigger and glitzier than anywhere else. Vegas may be crammed up with strippers, but X Burlesque takes the whole thing up a notch, introducing the audience to a sophisticated adventure. Performed at the Flamingo in Las Vegas, the sexy dancers are the closest thing to the Playmates you can get. Dancing on top 40 music from today’s greatest artists, an intricate choreography takes the erotic to whole new levels. You’ll see girls in bathtubs licking lollipops, and plenty of topless acts throughout the steaming hot teasing performance. Plus, comedians Nancy Ryan and James Bean bring their adult humor during the breaks of one of the most famous shows on The Strip.
6. Volupte: Average Ticket $85
Volupte‘s Afternoon Tease is a nonconformist burlesque show, quite different from what you’d expect. While most cabaret acts around the world are performed in the evening or night-time, Volupte‘s seductive striptease acts are held in the afternoon, hence their latest show’s name Afternoon Tease. The sophisticated burlesque show can be attended in London at tea time. You can enjoy an equally decadent tea and three course meal in a classy décor while being enraptured by a themed cabaret where striptease and jazz mix together to give birth to a cheeky burlesque where girls perform naked with strategically placed cakes. For $85 you’ll get a cup of cream tea and a glass of bubbly while being teased to the extreme by the coy cabaret the girls put on.
5. Club Noir: Average Ticket $90
An interesting combination of burlesque, circus, dancing, and vaudeville, Club Noir is a dangerous concoction of sexy divas, talented dancers, pin-up girls, and leading men performers in taunting roles on the stage. Club Noir is the biggest burlesque club in the world, based in Glasgow, the city with the most active cabaret scene on the planet. They are the pioneers of burlesque in Scotland, and tickets sell out in an instant. Blink and you’ll miss them. The burlesque extravaganza is couple-friendly, combining glitz, glamor, and high society in themes from all corners of the world and all ages, from Arabian nights to 1940’s wardrobes. Other venues include clubs in London and Edinburgh, and the average ticket price for this inviting temptation is $90 per person.
4. Bustout Burlesque: Average Ticket $90
In the very heart of the French Quarter debauchery, Bustout Burlesque achieved the impossible, bringing a touch of refinement with their sophisticated striptease acts accompanied by live jazz, all to be seen and enjoyed on Bourbon Street. The tantalizing seductive show is hosted by the House of Blues, and can best be described as vintage striptease, a form of art in itself. Anyone with a taste for that old-world charm, when everything revolved around aesthetics and art, will simply adore this dazzling performance. The 1950’s style authentic strip show revives that old-time elegance and flair on a colorful stage that will lure you to take the bait.
3. Le Cirque Rouge Cabaret & Burlesque: $130
The closest thing to an old-world variety show you can possibly get, Le Cirque Rouge Cabaret & Burlesque troupe managed to revive the classic and refined burlesque theater that had been dead in Minneapolis for the past 50 years. Making their debut in 2003, the best singers, dancers, and comedians in town get together to put on a show revolving around a classy black and red colored decor. Performing mainly at the Amsterdam Bar in downtown St. Paul on live music, ticket prices start at just $30, but if you want to have a close look at the girls while enjoying a glass of bubbly, you can expect to drop $120 per person.
2. Wam Bam Club: $150
Combining the Parisian charm and Vegas glitz and glamor, Cabaret Rouge is a London based burlesque troupe performing at the Wam Bam Club in London. Putting on an old-school showgirl style act, wearing dazzling costumes and feathered head pieces, the sexy girls deliver all types of burlesque pieces, from slow seductive striptease to circus acts. There are obvious Vegas influences, and even a Moulin Rouge tribute and Can Can. A fusion of burlesque, comedy, magic, and music, the Wam Bam Club is one of the only burlesque venues inviting boylesque performers to step up its stage. For $150, you’ll get front seats to the show, a three course meal, and a glass of bubbly while being teased by the nearly nude dancers.
1. The Crazy Horse: $300
Whoever hasn’t heard of The Crazy Horse is either lying or living on another planet. The place it all started from back in 1951, the most staggering nude show on Earth, The Crazy Horse is as avant-garde as striptease can get. It is without a doubt the best cabaret in Paris. That’s right, the one in France not in Vegas. An artistically designed stage enveloped in bold colors is the playground for sensual pin up girls showing off their talents and assets Mother Nature has endowed them with in sensual dance moves, slowly removing all their clothes, all without even the slightest hint of obscenity. The spectacular lighting tricks celebrate the raw talent of these nude female dancers and their flawless body curves, all indistinguishable on stage, which only adds up to the mystery. The most famous burlesque show of all times, the original act that started it all, boasts a distinctive burlesque aesthetic. Dita Von Teese, Carmen Electra, and Pamela Anderson have all stripped down on the stage of The Crazy Horse. It’s $150 just for the show, but if you want champagne and dinner with that, expect to drop $300 per person for the whole shabam.