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Show-girl (La Cocotte) at Scala Theatre, The Hague; by Isaac Israëls

A showgirl is a female dancer or performer in a stage entertainment show intended to showcase the performer's physical attributes, typically by way of revealing clothing, toplessness, or nudity.


Showgirls date back to the late 1800s in Parisian music halls and cabarets such as the Moulin Rouge, Le Lido, and the Folies Bergère.[1] The trafficking of showgirls for the purposes of prostitution was the subject of a salacious novel by the nineteenth-century French author Ludovic Halévy.[2]

The Las Vegas showgirl[edit]

Jubilee! showgirls

The first casino on the Las Vegas Strip to employ dancing girls as a diversion between acts was the El Rancho Vegas in 1941.[3] Showgirls were presented in Las Vegas in 1952 as the opening and closing act for Las Vegas headliners, sometimes dancing around the headliner. They were introduced at the Sands Casino for a show with Danny Thomas. In 1957, Minsky's Follies took the stage at the Desert Inn giving birth to the topless showgirl in Vegas. This was followed by a long-running The Lido de Paris at the Stardust Casino that ran for 31 years.[1][4][5] Traditionally, Las Vegas showgirls are classically trained dancers with skills in Ballet and Jazz dance.

Revues with showgirls[edit]

The showgirls of The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies

Showgirls in popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ a b "History of Showgirls". Oklahoma Showgirls. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  2. ^ McClary, Susan (1992). Georges Bizet: Carmen. Cambridge Opera Handbooks. Cambridge University Press. p. 38. ISBN 9780521398978.
  3. ^ Gioia-Acres, Lisa (2013). Showgirls of Las Vegas. Arcadia Publishing. p. 8. ISBN 9780738596532.
  4. ^ "Las Vegas: An Unconventional History". PBS. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  5. ^ Mary Manning (15 May 2008). "Las Vegas Showgirls: Show and (a lot to) tell". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  6. ^ J.D. Morris (13 June 2016). "Celebrating the Las Vegas showgirl: An icon lives on in one group's evolving passion project". Las Vegas Sun.
  7. ^ Shteir, Rachel (2004). Striptease: The Untold History of the Girlie Show. Oxford University Press. p. 153. ISBN 9780195300765.