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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 or even toplessness or nudity. Showgirls are often associated with Latin music and dance, particularly samba.[citation needed]

The term show girl is sometimes applied to a promotional model employed in trade fairs and car shows.[1]


Showgirls date back to the late 1800s in Parisian music halls and cabarets such as the Moulin Rouge, Le Lido, and the Folies Bergère.[2] The trafficking of showgirls for the purposes of prostitution was the subject of a salacious novel by the nineteenth-century French author Ludovic Halévy.[3]

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.[4] 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.[2][5][6]

Revues with showgirls[edit]

The showgirls of The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies

Showgirls in popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ Haze Fan (26 April 2016). "Ban on car show girls at Beijing Auto Show gives male attendants center stage". CNBC.
  2. ^ a b "History of Showgirls". Oklahoma Showgirls. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  3. ^ McClary, Susan (1992). Georges Bizet: Carmen. Cambridge Opera Handbooks. Cambridge University Press. p. 38. ISBN 9780521398978.
  4. ^ Gioia-Acres, Lisa (2013). Showgirls of Las Vegas. Arcadia Publishing. p. 8. ISBN 9780738596532.
  5. ^ "Las Vegas: An Unconventional History". PBS. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
  6. ^ Mary Manning (May 15, 2008). "Las Vegas Showgirls: Show and (a lot to) tell". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Shteir, Rachel (2004). Striptease: The Untold History of the Girlie Show. Oxford University Press. p. 153. ISBN 9780195300765.