A Brief History of Exotic Dancing
Exotic dancing is hardly a new concept. It is one of the oldest forms of dancing in the world. It is believed by some anthropologists that exotic dancing has its roots in fertility rites as women looked to seduce men into mating with them to produce their offspring. Exotic dancing may have also been a celebration of femininity. It is estimated that the first exotic dance may have been performed over 20,000 years ago.
Ancient Exotic Dancers
It is believed that exotic dances were created in the paleolithic era and their use lasted throughout time. In the Greek and Roman era, erotic dances were performed in the temples by goddesses such as Diana and Artemis, who represented the Moon and the hunt. These particular women were chosen to dance because of their beauty and their vitality. In the Roman era, women would dance to honor the gods of wine, Dionysus and Bacchus. During the ceremonies, the dancers would often remove their clothes.
As time passed, this form of seductive dancing was just limited to the temples, but it reached outside the temples as well. The dances quickly became a form of paid adult entertainment, with courtesans using their erotic skills to entertain men as they dined at banquets or during ceremonies.
Belly dancing, which had started in the Middle East, came to Greco-Roman world and its popularity quickly spread. The dances displayed a form of erotic pleasure in sexuality and the movements of the hips were associated with childbirth. These exotic dancers were paid when members of the audience tossed coins to them, an early form of onstage tipping.
Modern Exotic Dancing
Fast forward a few hundred years and it is thought that the first American strip tease was actually a belly dance performed by a fully clothed dancer in 1893 at the Chicago World’s Fair. Her stage name was Little Egypt, and though she wasn’t the first dancer to perform provocatively onstage, she is the one who is credited with introducing exotic dancing to American culture. Her real name was believed to be Fatima and she was part of a group of Middle Eastern dancers.
Though the era of burlesque dancing started in the 1860’s, at that time, burlesque included comedy performances and singing and dancing acts. Scantily clad dancers briefly appeared onstage, but they were not the focus of burlesque. That wouldn’t come about until the 1920s and 1930s when their form of dance become popular and was performed in illegal clubs during prohibition.
The modern strip tease was further aided by a dancer in San Francisco named Carol Doda. She danced on top of a white piano wearing the latest swimsuit designs, though she eventually went topless. She was a sensation and inspired other acts of that kind throughout the country. She was also the first dancer to get breast implants, something that many exotic dancers in the adult entertainment field still do today.
Doda’s dancing inspired the fashions, lifestyle and moves that are found on strip club stages today. Exotic dancing has a long storied history and it’s still advancing even in a place like here in Norfolk.