What is the difference between drag and burlesque? - Proud Cabaret

What is the difference between drag and burlesque?

If anyone can show you the difference between burlesque and drag with their expertise in both show-stopping performances, it’s Proud Cabaret.

Proud takes burlesque and drag to a new fabulously entertaining experience. With world class acts in burlesque and the sassiest acts in drag, Proud is the only place to see the most spectacular performances burlesque has to offer.

What is Burlesque?

What is burlesque?

Burlesque is a theatrical extravaganza involving dance. Burlesque dance makes fun by copying something in an exaggerated way. It’s playful and teases the audience with risqué acts and outrageous performances which incorporate cabaret. It’s a variety show that is both provocative and comedic.


What Is Drag?

What is drag?

Drag is lip-syncing, over the top, sass-infused entertainment hosted by eccentric drag queens. Full of humour and sing-a-longs, drag is an experience that gets the audience involved in all aspects of the entertainment.


Burlesque and Drag Shows at Proud

Proud’s latest show spectacular (as of November 2022) is Bad Santa Burlesque which showcases world class performers and outrageously kinky burlesque acts. It takes the audience on a playful journey to the wonderful world of burlesque fetish performance.

West Side Cabaret Story brings passion and rivalry to the stage with an outrageous sexy twist on the timeless love story. Bringing life, energy and passion through performance including burlesque dance, this is an all-star cast spectacular!

Proud hosts it’s latest drag show - Drag Bingo, which immerses the audience with sing-a-longs and dance-offs in-between games. Full of endless fun and raucous entertainment hosted by the sassiest queens, this show is the most hilarious day or night you can ask for!

Our famous Drag Brunch at Proud Brighton is a hilarously fun, boozy brunch with song, dance, great food and flowing drinks!

The Jungle Queen at Proud Embankment is a show-stopping brunch spectacular that see’s the Disney classic The Jungle King get a drag twist! With 3 hours of endlessly fun antics, including camp renditions of your favourite songs, flamboyant drag acts and sing-a-longs!


Quotes from the Audience:

Quotes from people who have seen burlesque shows at Proud;

  • "What a night!! Amazing singing, mystifying magic, fantastic fire performance, sexy burlesque, awesome aerialist….the list goes on. Never have I seen so much variety in one show."
  • "Can’t wait for my next visit as it’s the best burlesque I have seen in London. The show is so well planned all the acts did not disappoint and completely blew us all away!"
  • "First time to a burlesque evening and it doesn't disappoint. The performances are jaw dropping, surprising and delightfully shocking."
  • "If you're a burlesque fan or simply looking for something different, this is THE place to be. Having seen a few burlesque shows across London, this is by far my favourite!"


What to expect from a burlesque performance

You can expect to laugh, burlesque is very tongue in cheek and each performer has their own performance style, comedy and sex appeal is what makes burlesque so unique. Expect the unexpected with a burlesque show, just don’t take it too seriously! A burlesque performance can include comedy, acrobatics, dancing, singing, fire-breathing, anything goes with burlesque, it’s not just about striptease.

Source@ Library of Congress

Some Fun Facts About The History of Burlesque

Burlesque comes from the Italian word ‘burlesco’ which means ‘mockery’ or ‘making fun of’. It started in the Victorian era and the word ‘burlesque’ was used to describe parody plays.

The Americanisation of burlesque took place in New York in the 1840’s, the burlesque shows still retained their pardoy-esque elements but this time featured the performers in revealing tights which were considered risqué for the Victorian era.

Entering the 20th century, the popularity of burlesque grew, much to do with its transformation into striptease. This brought moral outrage as many disagreed with the format of the shows, with one performer actually getting arrested for ‘accidentally’ forgetting her tights. Unthinkable now!


Dita Von Teese, Source: The Sun

The Queen of Burlesque

Dita Von Teese is the most famous burlesque performer in this day and age. She chose the name Dita in tribute to silent film actress Dita Parlo, Von Treese was picked from the phone book. In a shoot with Playboy they misspelt it Teese and it stuck!

She wore a corset every day for years until she cinched her waist down to 22 inches, 16 inches when laced down!

She began performing burlesque in 1992, and has helped popularise its revival. Her burlesque shows are often inspired by 1930’s and 1940’s musicals and films. Some of her more famous dances have involved a carousel horse, a giant powder compact and a giant martini glass. Her feather fan dance, inspired by burlesque dancer Sally Rand, featured the world's largest feather fans, now on display in Hollywood's Museum of Sex.


Burlesque, The Conclusion

As you can probably tell by now, burlesque is a variety of lots of different areas of performance  that make it what it is! There is no end to what talents and acts can be included in a burlesque performance.

Burlesque has come a long way since it first came on the scene, but it’s fair to say it hasn’t lost it’s humour at all over all these years, just maybe more clothes! The only thing to remember is that it’s fun and not to take it too seriously.


Don’t miss out!

If you want to come and experience burlesque for yourself and see one of our extraordinary shows here at Proud, with world-class acts that will blow you away, and a night that won’t be forgotten, click here and book now!