In the October issue of the Canadian magazine Glow, I wrote a piece about the history and revival of burlesque. Not all of my interview with Dita Von Teese made it into the story so I'll be serving up occasional outtakes.
Why do you think the neo-burlesque movement has gained momentum in the last few years? What's behind the increased interest?
The media gave it a lot of attention, and so the interest grew.
What is burlesque's appeal for people today?
I think a lot of women see it as a way to feel beautiful and sexy without fitting into the typical modern day standards of beauty, where the emphasis seems to be on natural, bikini-model, so-called healthy looking tanned slim bodies. Burlesque embraces artifice and fantasy and it's an image that can be created and emulated. It's about sensual freedom, and the enjoyment of sex and fun of a playful nature! Seduction and feminine prowess! And I would say that the men, for the most part, are enjoying the benefits of this.
Is that different than its appeal to audiences fifty years ago?
I think that the emphasis was more on titillation for a predominantly male audience, but I think its also quite interesting that it was more acceptable back then in many ways than it is now in the United States. I perform a lot more often in Europe, and there is an entirely different attitude toward burlesque as art, whereas in the US, sadly, most people don't know the rich history of burlesque in America, where it was truly invented and perfected. Americans have taken steps backwards with regard to sex and nudity, and that's a shame.
~Part One of Talking with Dita
~Part Two of Talking with Dita