Showgirls are female dancers or performers in stage shows designed to draw attention to their bodies, typically through revealing clothing and erotic moves. They have been around since the 1800s, and are often associated with Latin music and dance, particularly samba. El Rancho Vegas was the first casino on the Las Vegas Strip to hire dancing girls as a diversion between acts in 1941.
Showgirls represent and celebrate exquisite feminine beauty. Their features are enhanced with long, thick false eyelashes, bright red lipstick, fishnet stockings, high heels and excellent posture. Their curvy and womanly assets are enhanced by their stylized stage poses and choreography. They often have years of ballet and dance training, and many have been members of ballet companies. As a result, their arms and legs developed those long lines that make them look even more statuesque when they dance. Showgirl choreography avoids open-crotch gestures and positions, preferring to keep the groin area concealed with crossed legs and demure positioning that is sensuously seductive.
Traditionally, showgirls do not dance in a bawdy or vulgar manner while topless. They are not burlesque dancers. Originally, showgirls and showgirl style were imported from Paris by Miss Bluebell. They walked or danced in a dignified, elegant manner. In fact, showgirls use a very smooth walking technique known as “tipping” in which exposed breasts do not bounce or jiggle as they walk. The classic showgirl style is regarded as the epitome of practice and grace.
Here below are some stunning historical photos that document the backstage life of Boston showgirls from the 1940s.