Striptease, or exotic dancing, has a very interesting and exciting history, especially in the last few decades. Although the scientists are not yet sure about the exact date when this type of dancing was born, there is no doubt that stripping for money or for other benefit has been with us for a long time. From Sumerian myths and Biblical references, over medieval belly dancing in the Middle East, to cancan and burlesque in France – stripping and suggestive dancing has attracted audiences and was present worldwide.
During the last century stripping has expanded enormously, with staggering growth of the whole market. Adult entertainment in global has seen some major changes and it all contributed to rise in numbers of strip clubs being opened, and therefore more and more ladies were entertaining the crowd in those “gentleman’s clubs”. Over the years some names have gained more popularity than others, either because of their amazing looks, superb performances or just overall charm. Here are the most famous ones:
- Carol Doda (1937- ) certainly deserves to be number one here, since she was the first woman to officially perform a topless dance, and this happened in the legendary Condor Night Club in 1964. A true pioneer of the business, she also performed the first bottomless, i.e. totally nude show five years later at the same strip club in San Francisco. This made her an icon of the 1960s in America. She was also famous for her big bust which was enhanced with silicone implants. Currently owns a lingerie shop in San Francisco.
- Gypsy Rose Lee (1911-1970) is a legendary name in striptease business, but his lady was so much more – an author, actress and playwright (her memoir Gypsy was made into musical and film). She earned her reputation by performing in the famous Minsky’s Burlesque where her shows contained a lot of classy and teasing moments, combined with a sharp sense of humor. She thought of herself as a “high-class” stripper which she certainly was.
- Lilly St. Cyr (1918-1999) was another major star in American burlesque of the 1940s and1950s, and she earned her name by performing all sorts of clever and attractive shows. Her amazing looks with her famous long blue hair also contributed to her popularity. She trained ballet as a young girl and this influenced her exotic dancing as well. During her shows she often used a lot of props and requisites, and her best known acts are “The Flying G” or”Jungle Goddess”. Having been married six times she had quite an exciting personal life as well.
- Ann Corio (1909-1999) did not use a stage name, unlike the rest of the stars on this list, but that didn’t stop from becoming one of the best known American burlesque ecdysiasts. She was part of a famous trio, along with Rose Lee and St. Cyr, who dominated the world of stripping in 1940s and 50s. She was also a performer of the Minsky’s Burlesque
- Josephine Baker (1906-1975) had a few nicknames, like “Creole Goddess” or “Bronze Venus” and she was also the first first woman to star in a movie (Zouzou, 1934).With her famous banana skirt and often accompanied by a pet partner (a cheetah named Chiquita) this superstar of striptease was a real spectacle at the time. For instance, she was the most sensational women that ever existed according to Hemingway, and other than dancing, this celebrity was also a fierce civil rights activist and fighter in World Word II.