A stripper is a professional erotic dancer who performs a contemporary form of striptease at strip club establishments, public exhibitions, and private engagements. Unlike in burlesque, the performer in the modern Americanized form of stripping minimizes the interaction of customer and dancer, reducing the importance of tease in the performance in favor of speed to undress. Not every stripper will end her performance completely nude, though full nudity is common where not prohibited by law.
A stripper or exotic dancer is a person whose occupation involves performing striptease in a public adult entertainment venue such as a strip club. At times, a stripper may be hired to perform at a bachelor party or other private event. Modern Americanized forms of stripping minimize interaction by strippers with customers, reducing the importance of tease in the performance in favor of speed to undress (strip). Not every stripper will end a performance completely nude, though full nudity is common where not prohibited by law. The integration of the burlesque pole as a nearly ubiquitous prop has shifted the emphasis in the performance toward a more acrobatic, explicit expression compared to the slow-developing burlesque style. Most strippers work in strip clubs. A house dancer works for a particular club or franchise, while a feature dancer tends to have her own celebrity, touring a club circuit making appearances. Entertainers (dancers) are often not actual employees of the club itself but perform as independent contractors. Until the 1970s, strippers in Western cultures were almost invariably female, performing to male audiences. Since then, male strippers have also become common. Certain male and female strippers also perform for LGBT as well as for both sexes in pan sexual contexts. Before the 1970s, dancers of both sexes appeared largely in underground clubs or as part of a theater experience, but the practice eventually became common enough on its own. Performances are usually fully choreographed, involve dance routines and a costume of some sort. Male strippers have become less common in the 21st century.
A striptease is an erotic or exotic dance in which the performer gradually undresses, either partly or completely, in a seductive and sexually suggestive manner. The person who performs a striptease is commonly known as a “stripper” or exotic dancer. In Western countries, the venues where stripteases are performed on a regular basis are now usually called strip clubs, though they may be performed in venues such as public houses (especially in the UK), theaters and music halls. At times, a stripper may be hired to perform at a bachelor party. In addition to providing adult entertainment, stripping can be a form of sexual play between partners. This can be done as an impromptu event or – perhaps for a special occasion – with elaborate planning involving fantasy wear, music, special lighting, practiced dance moves, or unrehearsed dance moves. Striptease involves a slow, sensuous undressing. The stripper may prolong the undressing with delaying tactics such as the wearing of additional clothes or putting clothes or hands in front of just undressed body parts such as the breasts or genitalia. The emphasis is on the act of undressing along with sexually suggestive movement, rather than the state of being undressed. In the past, the performance often finished as soon as the undressing was finished, though today’s strippers usually continue dancing in the nude. The costume the stripper wears before disrobing can form part of the act. In some cases, audience interaction can form part of the act, with audience urging the stripper to remove more clothing, or the stripper approaching the audience to interact with them. Striptease and public nudity have been subject to legal and cultural prohibitions and other aesthetic considerations and taboos. Restrictions on venues may be through venue licensing requirements and constraints and a wide variety of national and local laws. These laws vary considerably around the world, and even between different parts of the same country. H. L. Mencken is credited with coining the word “ecdysiast” – from “ecdysis”, meaning “to molt” – in response to a request from striptease artist Georgia Sothern, for a “more dignified” way to refer to her profession. Gypsy Rose Lee, one of the most famous striptease artists of all time, approved of the term.