Male Stripograms Birmingham gives a short history lesson on Male and Female strippers and stripagrams
The origin of stripping, or striptease, as a performance art in the UK dates back to the 1930s when the Windmill Theatre, London, began presenting nude female shows to its audiences based upon their French counterparts at The Moulin Rouge and The Folies Bergères. Unfortunately English Law prohibited naked girls from actually moving and something was required to circumvent this. The initial solution was to have the Windmill girls remain stationary for their ‘performance’. These stationary performances were known as tableaux vivants (French for ‘living pictures’).
The girls would also tour other theatres, in and out of London, and would sometimes use other ingenious methods of enhancing the nude performance while still adhering to the law. Props such as rotating ropes were used. This would allow the girls to move their bodies around, while not moving of their own volition, thus keeping to the exact letter of the law. The Fan Dance was another popular ruse. The nude dancer with two attendants would cover her body with fans until the end of the performance when the fans would be removed. She remained motionless for about ten seconds.
In 1942 the first female striptease show, the Whitehall Follies, started regularly appearing at the Whitehall theatre. The Whitehall Follies had been created by the British stage actress and impresario Phyllis Dixey, known as the ‘Queen of Striptease’. She remained at the Whitehall for the next five years producing her Peek-a-boo shows. Phyllis always considered her shows a true artistic expression, much like acting or dancing, and at the time many people agreed with her. However, for the predominantly male audience, one would assume they were not so focused on the artistic merits of the shows!
The 1950s variety shows, with very few exceptions, were failing to attract audiences. Phyllis Dixey had pushed the boundaries of acceptability and these were to be pushed further by another impresario, Paul Raymond. In 1951 Paul Raymond, produced a touring show with nude models displayed on moving stages then, to get around the law he decided to open a private members striptease club in the UK, the Raymond Revuebar in 1958. Far from the seedy image it might have engendered it became very popular with the rich and famous and, at its peak had over 45,000 members. Needless to say he had several runs in with the authorities but eventually things changed.
In the 1960s, the impracticalities of policing the existing law led to changes allowing for full nudity shows without the motion restrictions of the earlier decade. Soho, the centre of striptease in London for many years, saw a boom in the opening many new of strip clubs with ‘fully nude’ dancing and even audience participation. Pubs also became a popular venue for these new shows with Shoreditch, in the east end of London, become a popular area owing to the ease of access from the City of London.
Despite continuing opposition from some local authorities, the strip club/pub continues to exist to this day. In pubs, the strippers often walk around with a beer jug to collect money before performing which is a throwback to the go-go dancers of the 70s who would as for money before stripping.
In the 80s and 90s a number of “Gentlemen’s Clubs” arose and became very popular for men wishing to enjoy female strippers, where the individual strippers perform both ‘pole dances’ and private strips for their clients. Although pole dancing has been around in various forms for many years, it is now that it has reached its zenith, with many young women enjoying financially successful careers as pole dancers in the gentlemen’s clubs.
The advent of male strippers had to wait until the 1970s before it took off in the UK. Males strippers had become part of the gay scene in America, growing out of the go go tradition and the advent of gay clubs and pubs saw a rise in the number of strippers performing for same sex audiences. Male strippers for female audiences now has a very high profile thanks in part to acts like the Chippendales and the film “The Full Monty” which has now entered common parlance as a description of a full strip. Add the advent of “Girl Power” in the 90s and male strippers are now as commonplace as their female counterparts.
The 80s and 90s also saw the advent of a new phenomenon, “the strippergram”. Independent strippers can be hired to go to a venue or location, usually for a special occasion. These “strippergrams” generally perform a short striptease act for an individual frequently arriving in suitable fancy dress costumes.
UK’s History of male and Female Strippers
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