Nostalgia for the glamour and bawdiness of burlesque has sparked the movement’s current resurgence, helped along by celebrity exponents including Dita Von Teese.
Think evocative poses, fluttering feathers, saucy tassels, and throw in more than a little flesh and you’re about halfway there.
Burlesque is a mix of dance, striptease and, believe it or not, comedy.
Here’s our pick of the best burlesque in London:
Hurly Burly with Miss Polly Rae
Taking inspiration from old Hollywood and burlesque glamour, Hurly Burly is a mix of saucy choreography with tongue in cheek comedy, cleverly combining good old fashioned tease with cheeky twists.
» Miss Polly Rae, at Leicester Square Theatre, TUBE: Leicester Pl, WC2H 7BX Leicester Square. (0844 847 2475) Feb 23-28. £15-£34.50
Forget cucumber sandwiches at the Ritz. Afternoon Tease at Volupte boasts a girly boudoir feel.
‘Teasemaids’ in fishnets serve delicate finger sandwiches, while husky singers entertain.
» Volupte, Norwich St, EC4A 1EJ. TUBE: Chancery Lane. Every Saturday from 2.30pm. £35 includes full afternoon tea and champagne
Soho institution Madame JoJo’s hosts Kitsch Cabaret every Saturday night, where unashamedly camp transvestites whip the crowd into a frenzy.
» Madame JoJo’s, 8-10 Brewer Street, W1F OSE. TUBE: Piccadilly Circus. (Every Saturday night. £20 including dinner
London’s longest running monthly burlesque night The Whoopee Club has regulars Miss Immodesty Blaize and Katherine Delish.
» Various London venues (thewhoopee club.com). Check listings magazines and register online to join the mailing list
A burlesque, cabaret and jazz club, restaurant and bar, Proud Cabaret is based on a 1920s speakeasy.
» Proud Cabaret, 1 Mark Ln, EC3R 7AA. TUBE:Tower Hill. Nightly. Check the website for events and prices
Become a burlesque dancer
Unleash your inner showgirl at the London Academy of Burlesque, run by artist Jo King.
A performer needs to have something unique, she says. “You could be size 12 or 20, and you don’t have to be classically attractive, just sexy and fun.
“Burlesque makes you feel good about being female.”
» London Academy of Burlesque, Danceworks, Balderton St, W1K 6TN Bond Street Monday drop-in classes 8-9pm, £10-£15
Words: Rebecca Kent