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Laura keen was a very popular American actress and manager whose real name was Mary Frances Moss. She would perform in high profile scenes and she is actually the actress who was on stage when Lincoln was assassinated (Allen,1991,2). Burlesque show was a show that involved : film, theater, dance, and comedy. It was performed by women for adult men and women. In Laura’s fashion of burlesque show, the artists combined dance, comedy, music, kitsch, innuendo, feathers, fans and sexual appeal to entertain their audience (Williams, 2005, 3).
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This show focused on entertainment unlike regular striptease or old fashion of Burlesque whereby performers targeted bringing about sexual gratification. Laura greatly helped change things from the way normal striptease was done because it was prohibited by the British law(Williams, 2005 ,5). The law prohibited naked women from moving. To get around this law , Laura came up with an arrangement where the women would appear in stationary tableaux vivants. The ladies used rotating devices such as ropes to move their bodies hence any movement was seen as not done intentionally and by so doing the women were able to get around the law(Williams, 2005, 5). Laura’s fashion of Burlesque was not as sexually provocative as the old fashion. It was very entertaining and educative unlike the old fashion which was purely sensual.
In this show, unlike the old fashion of Burlesque, artists demonstrated how to fight crime with their powers and talent .This show emphasized on the importance of sharing ideas rather than stealing them. The dance inverted the ordinary world of middle class women and injected a sense of proper feminine behavior and appearance in them. It’s a show where women would learn make-up and the best costumes. Laura’s Burlesque discouraged women from being used as sexual objects and advised them that they could keep their value by being sexually desirable.
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The show ended up making ugly middle class women love their bodies in a culture that gave a lot of value to appearance. The show helped boost confidence in middle class women by emphasizing that attractiveness came from a woman’s personality as opposed to a woman’s beauty , age and shape(Williams, 2005 ,9). In this show, the best performances were the ones that combined beautiful, elaborate and unique costumes. This show send a message to the audience that the best and the surest way to look beautiful, elaborate and unique in a costume was to make the costume yourself. This encouraged middle class women in the audience to exploit their talents (Williams, 2005, 12).
The show involved women who were good in bringing wine and food to sewing parties, others good in pizza and they combined efforts to make it a great success hence passing a message that when people combine their talents, they can do very well in any activity. To compete in a male dominated field , Laura capitalized on an already popular show which she converted to an entertainment and source of education as opposed to sexual gratification show. She avoided all the indecency and vulgarity in the old fashion of the show which were seen as offensive and this helped her attract more audience hence boosting her business. Laura has also boosted her business by ensuring that what the law prohibited was avoided as far as striptease is concerned. By eliminating motion of naked girls which is what the law prohibited , Laura avoided court battles which would definitely bring her business down (Williams, 2005 ,20). Laura also borrowed heavily from the old fashion of the show which had a lot of fans hence ensuring that her business would surely attract large numbers of audience which would make it boom.
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