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Monday, April 28, 2008

Burlesque Dancer Sarah Studies For A Phd On Stripping

Burlesque dancer Sarah Vernon is studying to become a doctor - of stripping.

Sarah has penned a 90,000- word sociology Phd paper on the subject.

She interviewed around 200 lap dancers, burlesque artists and strippers for her research.

Sarah, 32, examined the origins of strip-tease and its impact on society for her paper titled Striptease and Power.

She said: "It's been fascinating finding out what draws women to the art.

"When I started my Phd I looked for academic papers on this aspect of adult entertainment and was shocked to find there weren't any.

"My dissertation is not just a ramble on strippers and their history. It examines the origins of stripping and how socially acceptable it is and why.

"I looked at where the line lay between an art like burlesque and lap dancing - between performance and sex.

"I examined whether this was down to the type of audience rather than the stripping."

Sarah runs the Academy of Burlesque and Cabaret and performs under the stage name Gypsy Charms. She has studied ballet and tap and claims striptease is becoming respectable.

She said: "Theway people look at it has changed considerably since 1995 when documentaries about striptease began emerging.

"Dita Von Teese has done a lot to promote burlesque and girls are even having pole dancing lessons to keep fit."

Sarah, of Edinburgh, started her part-time degree at Glasgow University in 2001 and is a sociology tutor there.

She said: "The real rise of burlesque was in the 1940s through variety and cabaret.

"Then TV came into our lives along with video games.

"But people are now fed up sitting in front of their TVs.

"That's where burlesque has filled the gap. It's a great night out for over-25s who might not want to go to nightclubs.

"The art of burlesque is to parody and we bring humour and satire as well as glamour."

See Sarah at the Burlescapades Springtime In Paris evening at Edinburgh's Voodoo Rooms on May 10.

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