The evolution of chorus girls and showing skin on stage
These next few pages of old pictures are a history of strippers and chorus girls and showing skin on stage, from Can Can girls, to to Mae West, to the Zigfield Follies, and the Rockettes.
This article claims that Adah Isaacs Menken was the first woman to get nude on a legitimate stage; eventhough it was implied and she was really clothed in flesh colored silk as she rode across the stage, strapped to a stallion, in Byron’s Mazeppa.
Lydia Thompson led the British Blondes in the later 1860s, which was full of many “firsts”: tights meant only for better display, burlesque queens, and bleached blonde hair.
Pictured on this page: Lydia Thompson in Robinson Crusoe, May Howard, and Mable Santley.
Anna Held, wife of the famous Florenze Zigfield (of Zigfield Follies) supposedly had a rib removed to bring her waist to a tiny 11 inches.
Mae West was scandalous, and starred and directed in an act in 1927 called “Sex”, which was so bold and sensual that it got her arrested.
The following last two pages are spread of chorus girls in the first part of the 20th century: from the 1917 Zigfield Follies, Earl Carrol’s Vanities (1923), and the “modern” Rockettes.