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Dita Von Teese on Burlesque VS Stripping

Dita Von Teese

Back in the summer of 2012, Dita Von Teese was asked what was her take on the difference between stripping versus burlesque and this is what she said:

“I get asked a lot to explain that burlesque is different from stripping. But the term “burlesque” as we know it today comes from a type of risqué variety show in America that one would go to see in the 1930s and ’40s. Performing striptease—”stripping”— is the word to describe what the burlesque performers did onstage.”

“Nowadays we use the word “burlesque” to describe this retro-styled striptease that is seeing a big revival. Without the strip, it’s not burlesque, that’s for certain, and the greatest burlesque star that ever lived, Gypsy Rose Lee, called herself a stripper. You aren’t going to hear me tell you that there is a difference between burlesque and stripping. I think it’s awfully pretentious to go on and on about how burlesque isn’t really stripping. Burlesque-style striptease is where the modern pole-dancing-type strip originated from. Essentially, we’re all related.”


“Initially, I worked in strip clubs, as did most of us that were at the forefront of the burlesque revival in the early 1990s, and I’m not ashamed to say it. I respect strippers of all forms. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t wandered into a strip club and wanted to know more about striptease history. I’ve always been able to admire what makes a dancer an individual, whether it’s really raunchy or tame.”

“In my opinion, elegance has nothing to do with “how much” is shown and far more to do with the way one presents herself. I’ve seen beautiful, highly erotic, nearly pornographic shows that are more elegant than some burlesque acts. You can’t equate the degree of nudity or suggestion, it’s all about the overall way it’s done.”