Burlesque performer. Instructor. Show producer. Model. Two-second genius.

Video: Lucille Ball Does Burlesque

By Mynx d'Meanor • Apr 9th, 2009 • Category: BLOG, BURLESQUE ART/MEDIA

Yet another reason to love Lucy:

Young Lucille Ball as star Bubbles/Tiger Lily in “Dance, Girl, Dance” (1940).

Dance, Girl, Dance is taken from an original story by Grand Hotel author Vicki Baum, and concerns a group of ambitious dancers led by Bubbles (Ball), whose chief talents lie in her transient appeal to men; and Judy, a dreamer who wants to learn the ballet, finds herself as a stooge in burlesque, and who chrysalises into a feminist icon by the film’s end, a true “movie Amazon”.

Dance, Girl, Dance is a milestone in the dance film and musical, despite its B-movie production values (featuring lots of back projection). Key sequences which demand critical attention include Judy’s attempt to be a hula dancer, stunningly upstaged by the sexy wiggles of Bubbles, and the burlesque routine which gives Bubbles her biggest chance to shine, “Mother, What Do I Do Now?” Hollywood also shows us classical ballet, with an extended routine choreographed by Steve Adams (Bellamy) – relying on the assumption that classical ballet/high art is not as appealing as good old low-down burlesque, regardless of how much money and talent is thrown into the “art” pot. While it may have made use of the resources from Fred and Ginger’s RKO musicals, the ballet sequence looks flat against the earthy sexiness of Bubbles’ hula dance.

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