Toronto burlesque has a long and rich history. In the last decade, Toronto burlesque has definitely made a resurgence, as Toronto theatres and venues are routinely filled with audiences enjoying unique and titillating entertainment without equal.
The word “burlesque“ does not refer to nearly-nude women gyrating on poles for the entertainment of drunken men. Burlesque is not a synonym for stripping or exotic dancing. Burlesque is performance art that shines a spotlight on striptease, showcasing skits, comedy, variety and seduction. The genre of burlesque is aimed at a more sophisticated audience that wants to have a fun and entertaining evening. Burlesque often offers a glimpse at the naughty, but it is focused on fun and enjoyment.
The Toronto Burlesque scene saw its heyday in the Mid 40’s to the late 60’s. The Lux and Victory Theaters, with film attendance faltering turned to burlesque to bolster numbers and the Toronto burlesque scene quickly became a powerhouse in local entertainment. The Victory, billed as ‘offering the best in burlesque’, for quite some time ran a monopoly of Toronto burlesque entertainment. The Toronto burlesque community regularly drew burlesque stars like Tempest Storm, Blaze Starr, Satan’s Angel, Ann Perri, April March, Yvonne De Carlo, Tura Satana and many others.
Today, Great Canadian Burlesque, the Toronto Burlesque Festival and a multitude of performers and troupes keep burlesque not only alive but thriving as well. In 2012 alone, Great Canadian Burlesque was featured on Global, HGTV and CBC television, as well The Globe and Mail, Pire Magazine, Grid Magazine, Snap Toronto and numerous other print, radio and online articles.
Burlesque is here to stay and Great Canadian Burlesque and the Toronto burlesque community are leading the way.