Posted by Paul Evans | Comments Off on Historical development of stripping and exotic dancing
Slow, sensual process of undressing, either partly or completely, in order to cause erotic excitement or desire is known as striptease. It would be very hard, if not impossible, to find an adult person, in Western civilization at least, who hasn’t heard about stripping, and a large percentage of population has also witnessed erotic dance or visited a strip club at least once in their lifetime. Modern day stripping is a worldwide phenomenon which provides enjoyment to millions of people, and a lot of people make a living out of it too. Major number of stripping acts are performed by women, according to most sources – 8 out of 10 strippers are female, and they prefer to be called “exotic dancers”, while locations that are used for this type of entertainment are politely called “gentleman’s clubs”.
Whether they are gentlemen or not, most visitors of these shows never think about the questions like “why am I doing this?” or “who started this thing? I sure would like to thank him!” Who could blame them, ha? Well, looks like some poor baggers didn’t enjoy the show at some point, I suppose, and they gave the whole thing a thought or two.
However, finding the exact date when exotic dancing was born is not so simple. Different scientists have different ideas, and they dispute each other as usual, so the question is still under consideration. But, some facts have been established by now and the majority of experts agree that first occurrence of undressing for certain type of gain is found in Sumerian culture, i.e. Babylonian. In that story the goddess Inanna travels to the Underworld and strips out of seven pieces of clothing at seven gates that await her.
Archeologically, the oldest evidence that is connected with seductive dancing dates back to Paleolithic era and is found on cave paintings in South France. Other than those 20.000-year-old portrays, there are also slightly younger artifacts which come from the Neolithic era, or the New Stone Age, and those miniature statuettes representing exotic dancers are found in Romania and Bulgaria.
If we fast-forward a little bit, we come into the 14th century when the first ever recorded dancing for money was taking place. This was happening in the Middle East and Arabia, and although no part of clothing was discarded, its sensual nature and suggestive hip movement combined with coins that were thrown at the performer, made belly dancing very popular. It still is nowadays, in a relatively different version to be honest.
Belly dancing soon spread throughout Europe and many nations made alterations to this dance. France was the most successful, since cancan and burlesque are, in some way, alive even today. Exactly those types of dancing were maybe the most responsible for the development of modern day striptease – since cancan shows in New Orleans during the mid 19th century inspired further changes. American people created their modified version – “hoochie coochie”, and this was also a step into the right direction, if you know what I mean.
In 1964 the first official topless dance was performed by Carol Doda in the legendary Condor Night Club in San Francisco, and five years later she did the same with fully nude dance. This was a landmark step in development of stripping, and since then it became a highly-specialized and professional activity with huge market and lots of interested customers.