Burlesque Performer

Tease and titillate in vintage dance productions.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
Highly Variable

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Burlesque Performers do?

Burlesque Performers do elaborate dance routines on stage dressed in erotic period costumes from the 19th century—complete with corsets, miniskirts, tassels, garters, stockings, feather boas, and lots and lots of lace. Like parmesan cheese from Italy, red wine from France, and the Beatles from Great Britain, burlesque is one of America’s fabulous imports from Europe. It’s in the midst of a pop-culture comeback under the tutelage of neo-burlesque superstars like Dita Von Teese.

Like Dita, your job as a Burlesque Performer typically includes elements of striptease. In fact, you’re often compared to an Exotic Dancer. The comparison, however, is grossly inaccurate, as Burlesque Performers don’t dance for tips, and don’t dance nude.

Instead, you perform rehearsed routines on stage alongside other Burlesque Performers in a nightclub, theater, or event venue. It’s an admittedly sexy—but not at all sleazy—variety of cabaret that includes live music, singing, costume changes, comedy, acrobatics, and choreography.

On show days, your job is pretty simple: Following a short rehearsal, you do your hair and make-up, put on your costume, and dance, dance, dance! It’s in between shows that the real work takes place: When you’re not performing, you’re dieting and exercising to stay in shape, participating in classes and rehearsals to perfect your dance moves, and collaborating with Costume Designers and Choreographers on the nuts and bolts of your next show.

Equal parts Dancer, Actress, Model, and Aerialist, you’re a star in the world’s sexiest circus!

Should I be a Burlesque Performer?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • Also known as: Burlesque Artist, Burlesque Dancer

    How to become a Burlesque Performer

    Most Burlesque Performers have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9aclaa&chl=no+college+%2882%25%29||associate%27s+%283%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2815%25%29|master%27s+%281%25%29|&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,82,82
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