Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The Art of Burlesque comes to Manchester

The art of burlesque became popular in the latter half of the 19th century, it is often mistaken for striptease, but in reality it is a far more complex performance. Often injected with comedy and caricature, the ladies who practice Burlesque are extremely talented, witty and extremely sexy.


Burlesque is extremely popular in America and was one of the most popular live acts in the glamorous first half of the 20th century. The lady who put Burlesque on the map was the late, great Gypsy Rose Lee, who performed her famous show the “psychology of a Stripteaser” for over a decade and went onto become one of the most famous women in the world at that time.

Live Burlesque show
Above - Image of a live Burlesque show

But what is Burlesque?

The original & historic definition of Burlesque is as follows:
Burlesque is a literary, dramatic or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects. The word derives from the Italian burlesco, which, in turn, is derived from the Italian burla – a joke, ridicule or mockery.
(source: wikipedia)
However, this Wikipedia definition isn't accurate in modern society, due to Burlesque being primarily being known as a form of art or erotic dance in most of Europe & America.

For those of you that do not know, Burlesque is a fairly erotic form of dance enjoyed by women. It often involves comedic or fluffy props. Many people consider it a type of art form, women use it to express themselves and thus as such it can be enjoyed and appreciated.

Take a look at the video of Dita von Teese (She was a highly prolific Burlesque dancer) below to get a good idea of how Burlesque works.

Dita Von Tease is without doubt the world’s most famous burlesque star of the 21st century, she appears as if she is from another era with her pale skin, rouged lips and feminine 1950’s dress. Over the last few years Manchester has seen burlesque become a regular event on the city’s cultural calendar.

Burlesque intrigues people, the dancer teases the audience, revealing just enough while concealing her most intimate parts. An interesting aspect of the Burlesque scene is that the audience at shows are often mainly women, straight and gay. I think this is a sign that Burlesque is not just a crude striptease, it is an art and so many women go because they appreciate the talent involved in this sensual act.

Burlesque in Manchester: Establishments

As of 19/12/2016, the establishments for Burlesque in Manchester are:

  • Whim Wham Cafe (permanently closed)
  • The Rowdy Show (yearly event)
  • Cirque Burlesque (nightly entertainment)
Edit: Whim Wham cafe is shut.

The best place to go in Manchester to watch an intimate Burlesque show used to be the Whim Wham café. It used to have a really authentic atmosphere that was artsy and enjoyable. When you enter you feel you have been transported back in time to the glamorous era of the 1930’s. 

Just down from Gorilla under one of Whitworth’s streets railway arches, the café is an “Epicurean Eatery and Gin Saloon” and serves sensational traditional British food and drink. Their bar is thoughtfully stocked and offers unique and classic cocktails and of course a fabulous selection of gin.

The Whim Wham café was one of Manchester’s hotspots and proved a very popular haunt for Manchester’s cultured crowd. Unfortunately it is now permanently shut down, much to the dismay of many customers.


If you do want to partake in the ambrosia of Burlesque, one of the best places to get a full demonstration in Manchester would be the yearly "The Rowdy Show". It's definitely worth looking up and booking a ticket to the next one, especially if you can arrange for a companion to accompany you during the performance!

Lastly and our most favored in Manchester is the Cirque Burlesque: www.cirqueburlesque.co.uk

Cirque Burlesque Manchester show
Above - performers preparing for a show at Cirque Burlesque

If you are searching for a place in Manchester to experience authentic Burlesque dances, the Cirque Burlesque establishment will be more than happy to help. Cirque Burlesque is praised by many women for bringing a bit of class & culture to the North West. However, you will find it is a private venue for members only, so you'll have to become a member to get involved.

The burlesque nights at the Cirque Burlesque are very good, the dancer weaves around the tables, teasing the customers while she elegantly removes her clothes, to reveal her pale delicate skin and a fabulous figure. I highly recommend you head down to one of their shows, but make sure you arrive early they are very popular and the tables fill up quickly.

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As entrepreneurs in the affairs of hedonism, you will find the high class ladies at Exclusive Company expertly suited to show you why Burlesque is widely appreciated! This escort service is very good at catering to the client.

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