5 Reasons You Should Check Out a Burlesque Show
In every major metropolitan city in the nation, there’s been a revival of the live variety show. No, you can’t find this on your TV; instead, you’ll have to hit the town and find one of the city’s many burlesque performances. With audiences nostalgic for the lost art of combining entertainment, music and glamor, burlesque performers have risen to the task of creating spellbinding spectacles for audiences every night. Here’s why it’s worth it to check out some of NYC’s hottest burlesques shows at least once.

For a witty and humorous variety show.


From the Italian burlesche, burlesque translates to English as “a joke, ridicule or mockery.” In its variety show format, this translates to satirical acts of all kinds taking place on stage. Seriously, expect the unexpected as performers often tackle political and social commentary through the art of dance, music and entertainment. Keep an open mind, especially if they poke fun at something you consider sacred ground, and understand it’s all in good fun. If you want to ease into the burlesque or variety show scene, check out Victrola Burlesque’s free show on Tuesdays (note: price does not include drinks).

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Because burlesque is better than strip clubs.

Burlesque and strip clubs are often grouped together into one seedy category, but let’s get one thing straight: there’s nothing witty or innovative about a strip tease. However, there is something new and different in every burlesque performance. Burlesque performers prefer an “anything goes” attitude when they conceptualize and realize their character, costume, music and choreography. Because of this, a burlesque show at Bushwick Burlesque is very different than the Glitter Gutter Show at the Slipper Room. The unique and highly creative nature of burlesque is what makes this art form so enduring even to this day.

For an empowering and intoxicating evening.

There’s a lot of debate about whether burlesque empowers or disempowers its almost exclusively female performers. We’re on the firm side of the former since in these acts, the power lies with the performer. As Hotel Chantelle’s star talent Calamity Chang told ADANAI, “There is no exchange of money, and thus power, at burlesque shows. We are not hustling for the customer’s money by soliciting lap dances and other favors in the back room. We perform our act and we go backstage or say hello to friends in the audience,” she said. “It’s fun, friendly, and powerful. The sense of artistic fulfillment is intoxicating.” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves!

Because burlesque shows expect you to get handsy (we mean by clapping).

If you’re sitting with your hands folded in your lap until the end of a burlesque show to applaud, you’re doing it wrong. There is no such thing as being a “polite” audience member and it’s expected that you hoot, holler, scream and clap to show your support for the performers. To be clear, burlesque has a strict “look, don’t touch” policy but the nature of the shows want—no, need—you to participate and praise the performers. So if you’re happy and you know it, be sure to clap your hands and let loose.

For a sexy date night or a girls’ night out.

Tell me the last time you could go see a show with a bunch of your best friends and also see that same show for a very sexy date with your partner. Got nothing? Well, you’ll always have burlesque. You and your besties can enjoy an evening of drinks, dancing and glamor or you can grab your partner for a night of scandalously sexy fun. No matter which night out you’re going for, Le Scandal Cabaret—NYC’s longest running burlesque show—is a safe bet for a night of raunchy humor, laughs and sensuality.

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