With a blast of brassy jazz and a spin through the glitz of modern Las Vegas, Emmy Award-winning Storyline Entertainment and award-winning director Rama Rau’s documentary League of Exotique Dancers sets the stage for a provocative and eye-opening “backstage tour” of the golden age of Burlesque through the colourful lives of unforgettable women who made it glitter.
Our guides are none other than inductees of the Burlesque Hall of Fame, all titans of tease and each possessing a way with words as uninhibited and captivating as her routines. Tantalizing tales and expert tips from the frontlines propel an action-packed journey through Burlesque’s heyday that also covers its gradual demise, concluding with an upbeat celebration of its rediscovery and revitalization by a new generation. What emerges is a full-figured portrait of Burlesque-era striptease artists, one that goes deeper into the culture and is more nuanced than many familiar screen depictions.
Burlesque not only transformed the lives of our characters, some of whom regularly worked with each other, it also reflected the rapid changes in mid-20th-century North American society—a side of Burlesque culture rarely explored on screen. League of Exotique Dancers peels off the layers of glitter to expose the sexism, racism and widespread stigma faced by Burlesque striptease performers and, indeed, the wider array of working women in that tumultuous era.