The Complete History of Burlesque

“I had an act where I was a girl in love with Elvis, and at the end of it, I’d tell a story about how I fell asleep in a theater after one of his shows and got spanked for staying out all night. I’d pull up my dress and rub my hand over my keister like I’d just been spanked.”

– Dixie Evans.

dixie3Known as the “Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque”, Dixie Evans (left) was one the most popular strip-tease performers in the 1950s.

Whilst burlesque as a form of mass popular entertainment was killed off by television, it has never disappeared completely.

In fact the tradition has had something of a revival lately – as fashionably retro entertainment for a young and hip audience in the larger cities.

Spanking was the perfect saucy-but-not-too-pervy ingredient to add a little spice into the proceedings, as the quote from Dixie Evans shows.

And it’s good to see that is still the case, as we admire some of the modern day burlesque performers who, just like the stars of yesteryear, are prepared to put their heart and soul into their performance – not to mention their keisters!

Beginning in Atlanta, it looks as though this girl stayed out all night too – at the Beyonce concert perhaps! A really hot picture.

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Talking of Elvis though, I’m sure he would have approved of his home town of Memphis staging a show which used this as it’s promotional poster.

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And this one from Vancouver gives the punters an interesting choice: “Leather and Lace: The Dark side includes tall boots and a spanking station. The Light side includes frilly pink and a cupcake station!”

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Spanking or cup-cakes: You decide

Burlesque has its origins in 19th Century music-hall and vaudeville, and this compere at a show in Las Vegas looks as though he came straight out of that era. He is asking the audience if the young lady bending over the piano deserves to be spanked…or not.

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In Boston things can get really kinky.


“No cupcakes for you, young lady!”

Burlesque performers, often create elaborate comic skits with colorful costumes, mood-appropriate music, dramatic lighting,

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and lashings of good old-fashioned bottom spanking.

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Some might appreciate the better view that comes without the dramatic lighting though.

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Red balloon = red bottom.

The modern day equivalent of Dixie Evans is Dita Von Teese. She is one of the instigators of the burlesque revival, and has been a considerable factor in bringing it back to mainstream attention.

And her bottom has come in for plenty of attention too:


She admits she’s really into a bit of bondage and spanking, and said in an interview: “I think a lot of people, if they were honest, would say, ‘Yeah, that sounds fun.’ “

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“I’d sit down to sign this book, but my keister’s too sore.”

Von Teeses’ feather fan dance, inspired by another old burlesque star Sally Rand, featured the world’s largest feather fans, now on display in Hollywood’s Museum Of Sex.

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keister :

“buttocks,” perhaps transferred from underworld meaning “safe, strongbox” (1914), earlier “a burglar’s tool kit that can be locked” (1881); probably from British dialect kist c.1300, or the German Kiste “chest, box.”

The connection may be via pickpocket slang sense of “rear trouser pocket” (1930s).

Online Etymology Dictionary

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5 thoughts on “The Complete History of Burlesque”

  1. As to the etymology of “Kiester”: “Kies” is a German slang word for “sh*t.” It’s perhaps not the most romantic word we can find for the critical part of the anatomy.

  2. I disagree. “Kies” is not a German slang word for shit.
    Kies means “gravel” really, in slang it also stands for “money”.

    It’s more probably that Keister is derived from “Kiste” (it also is pronounciated very similar) which means box or chest. “Kiste” is still used (while rarely) to describe a girl’s butt.


  3. I tell ya, I’ve seen a lotta’ blogs and this one really rocks.

    Amazing post. You have the gift of creating posts that are totally fresh and new, and this one features some exquisite imagery that most likely has not been seen anyhwere else.

    Not sure where the great ‘from Boston pix’ were taken—-I’m from that area, and there doesn’t seem to be too much of a kinky scene here.

    3rd pic from the bottom. wow classic!

    Blog on,

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