Ask 10 different people to define burlesque and you’ll likely get 10 different answers.
The Oxford dictionary defines burlesque as ‘an absurd or comically exaggerated imitation of something, especially in a literary or dramatic work; a parody.’ It can also mean ‘a variety show, typically including striptease.’
I think that most people have come to associate burlesque (or neo-burlesque) in SL with the latter definition.
When I first joined SL, most burlesque places were full of solo artists. Some stripped to full nude, some to pasties and g-strings, and others were horrified at the very notion of stripping.
But it was all lumped as ‘burlesque.’
Still is, mostly.
If you go back to the beginnings of burlesque, the emphasis was on parody and exaggeration. Comedians and actors making fun of something. (Think of SNL today.)
Add in music and then dancers.
Then it became more vaudeville than the original idea of burlesque.
A variety show – musicians, comedians, jugglers, singers, dancers, strippers – all in one show.
Perhaps what we see in SL is more cabaret than burlesque.
Dictionary.com defines cabaret as ‘a floor show of dancing, singing, or other light entertainment at a nightclub or restaurant.’
I think that definition fits the bill pretty well for most of what is labeled ‘burlesque’ in SL.
Do the definitions matter?
But it’s always interesting to see people arguing over what is ‘true’ burlesque in SL. 😀
For me, call it what you want. If there’s dancing, I’m happy.
Just remember not to lock yourself (or those you work with) into a little box labeled ‘burlesque’ or ‘true burlesque.’ Personally, I think doing so stifles the creativity of many people.
I’ve seen many a dancer leave a troupe over ‘creative differences.’
Let people be creative.
Isn’t that what SL is for?