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The city is twirling and swirling when the New Orleans Burlesque Festival welcomes the best burlesque dancers in the world to the French Quarter every fall to show off their moves. What started as a single competition in 1999, the festival now features parties, showcases, discussion panels, workshops and more in homage to classic striptease entertainment.
The main showcases and parties take place at three famous New Orleans venues, the House of Blues. Harrah’s Casino and the Civic Theatre.
Special events include the Queen of Burlesque Competition, plenty of special dance shows and themed showcases with specialty groups like Mondo Burlesque and the Bad Girls of Burlesque.
The main event and the one that started the festival is a competition to find “The Queen of Burlesque.” The competition brings in the best classic striptease dancers to perform solos to live traditional jazz music. A panel of celebrity judges chooses the festival’s international Queen of Burlesque, and the previous year’s winner also dances.
After the competition, the newly crowned queen hosts the Queen’s Ball, including her full court of dancers that take over the stage with lively performances.
The festivities last throughout the weekend, finishing off with one last party on Sunday night. Tickets to most events are purchased separately.