Hot Docs 2016: League of Exotique Dancers

The legends of burlesque tell their story in League of Exotique Dancers. The various pioneers and legends of burlesque, such as Delilah Jones, Lovey Goldmine, Judith Stein, and Camille 2000, are invited to perform at the Legends of Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas. These performers tell their story about working in an era when there were very few jobs that a woman can do.

Burlesque is a highly performative style of strip tease, which focuses more on teasing than stripping. As described by one of the subjects in League of Exotique Dancers, the process on burlesque is “parade, pose, and peel.” While there are some who would argue that dancing for the titillation of men is objectifying towards women, there is also the counterargument that the sex trade in general has always been a career option for women throughout the ages. The film also makes the effort to differentiate burlesque from the more explicit forms of stripping that arose in the 1970s and 1980s, which focused much less on teasing.

League of Exotique Dancers tells the stories of the pioneering legends of burlesque, who are all invited to perform at a Legends Hall of Fame show in Las Vegas. There is particular focus on the performer Lovey Goldmine, who is preparing to make her first burlesque performance in 30 years. Leogue of Exotique Dancers is a very empowering look at a group of women, who consider themselves feminists, in how they know who they are and are proud of working as sex objects.

8 / 10 stars


Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).