Vedette (cabaret)

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Vedette (in some cases, Supervedette or First Vedette), is the main artist in a musical Revue and Burlesque.[1]

The word "vedette" in French, means "Star of the Show". A vedette is usually a dancer, singer and actress, and usually acts accompanied by a group of dancers and comic actors. "Supervedette" is a term used to distinguish a vedette who is known for her work and talent mainly in theater for many years. The "first vedette" leads all the other vedettes and dancers in a group of two or more vedettes. A "Comic vedette" is a vedette who is at the same level as the first vedette but is distinguished by her acting and comedy rather than her dance ability.

The revues and burlesque shows and vedettes were very successful in the 20th century in Spain, France, and in some Latin American countries such as Argentina and Mexico.

Vedettes in Europe[edit]


Le Lido of Paris.

France has been considered the cradle of vedettes worldwide. This is because in its capital, Paris, there are some of the most famous cabarets in the world. Among these are the Moulin Rouge and the Folies Bergère de Paris. Both, the Moulin Rouge and the Folies Bergère, were the pioneers to show night shows in which the vedettes appeared on the scene half naked and doing Tableau vivant. Other famous venues are the Le Lido and Bataclan, also famous for their vaudeville and Revues. In more recent times, this group of entertainment centers would be joined by Crazy Horse.

Among the main vedettes of France, are Émilienne d'Alençon, Liane de Pougy and La Bella Otero, considered the "Three Graces" of Belle Époque.[2] The famous Mistinguett, became one of the most popular French artists of her time and the most important woman in the world of the spectacle,[3] while Madame Rasimi is remembered as the founder of the Bataclan. Another outstanding figure was Gina Palerme At the beginning of the century, the novelist Colette, also distinguished by acting in shows of magazine. Another prominent figure who stood out as vedette at that time is the world-famous Dutch spy Mata Hari.

Joséphine Baker,[4] of American origin, is remembered as one of the most important vedettes of the twentieth century. Her "Revue Nègre", which included a jazz orchestra, caused a sensation in the Parisian cabarets. Her exotic dance form, her uninhibited sexuality and his minimal dress (which included a skirt made with bananas) were more attractive to Europeans than to Americans. She became the star of Parisian nights and even opened her own club: Chez Josephine.

Another important figure was Coccinelle, considered as the first transsexual vedette in history.[5] The actress and singer Liliane Montevecchi stood out as vedette in the Folies Bergère in the 1970s, and eventually conquered Broadway. Another figure of the time was the Italian Xenia Monty.

In recent times they emphasize figures like Arielle Dombasle (known in her facet as vedette like Dolorès Sugar Rose) and Marlène Mourreau.


La Bella Otero in an 1894 Folies Bergère poster.

One of the first vedettes that stood out in Spain are La Bella Otero, a celebrated courtesan settled in France, one of the most outstanding personages of the Belle Époque in the artistic circles and the gallant life of Paris;[6] Luisa Esteso, famous comedian actress; Encarnación Fernández, who did most of her career in Argentina;[7] Celia Gámez (of Argentine origin), one of the most popular stars of Spain in the first half of the twentieth century and who owes much of the splendor of the Revues;[8] Paquita Garzón;[9] Rosario Guerrero (called "The Beautiful Guerrero"); Rosita Rodrigo; Tina de Jarque,[10] Rosario Soler "La Patita",[11] Paquita Escribano, Carmen Tórtola Valencia, specialist in oriental dances and pioneer of women's liberation,[12] and the sisters Laura and Victoria Pinillos.[13]

In the 1940s highlighted figures such as Trini Alonso, María Antinea (also famous in Argentina and Mexico); Maruja Boldoba, Florinda Chico, Gema del Rio, the popular Manolita Chen and her company; Teresita Silva; Maruja Tomás and Helga Liné.[14]

In the following decade highlighted stars like Mary Begoña, one of the comedic actresses par excellence of the Spanish scene;[15] Licia Calderón, Queta Claver (that becomes to become one of the majors vedettes of Spain);[16] Raquel Daina;[17] Marujita Díaz, considered as the "Queen of the Copla" and "Queen of the Spanish Music Revue" and Carmen de Lirio, famous during the dictatorship.[18]

In the sixties, were famous figures such as Mary Santpere, called "La Reina del Paralelo" (The Queen of the Parallel) reach the fame of Barcelona's homonymous street, where the greatest number of theaters were concentrated in the 20th century; Rosita Amores, pioneer of the erotic cabaret in the mid-1960s, and who knew how to outwit Franco's censorship in times when eroticism in Spain was confined to the private sphere, becoming a popular symbol of entertainment in the Valencian Community; Marisol Ayuso; Ingrid Garbo, of German origin; Vicky Lagos; Vicky Lusson; Katia Loritz;[19] Esperanza Roy, and Lina Morgan, one of the country's most momentous comic strips.[20] Special mention deserves Sara Montiel, who along with her prestigious film career, excelled in shows as vedette from this decade.

In the 1970s, highlighted María José Cantudo, who starred in the first full-length female nude (seen through a mirror) of Spanish cinema;[21] Eva León Conde[22] and Barbara Rey.

From the 1980s and 1990s stand out figures such as Lita Claver "La Maña";[23] Norma Duval, one of the last stars of the traditional magazine, a type of spectacle that during those years was in decline and that was maintained mainly thanks to the tourists who visited Paris;[24] Tania Doris, another one of the last representatives of the sort in Spain ; Paloma Hurtado, María José Nieto "Maripepa",[25] Rosa Valenty, Africa Pratt and the French Marlène Mourreau.[26]

In the last years they have emphasized figures like La Terremoto de Alcorcón and the transsexual actresses ´Bibiana Fernandez, La Veneno and La Prohibida.

Vedettes in America[edit]


Susana Giménez in 2014.

The Revue shows were popularized in Buenos Aires, from the 1920s, mainly in the Teatro Maipo.[27] Tita Merello became one of the most famous vedettes of the time.[28]

In the 1950s appeared vedettes of origin Cuban like Blanquita Amaro,[29] Amelia Vargas[30] and Rosita Fornés.[31] They had all the glitz, grace and glamor that characterized the era, and shared the stage with local stars like Nélida Roca.[32]

In the 1960s appeared figures like Zulma Faiad,[33] Nélida Lobato,[34] Susana Brunetti, Norma Pons, Egle Martín[35] and the Puertorrican Iris Chacón, called the "Vedette of America".[36]

The decades of 1970 and 1970 gave way to other stars like Graciela Alfano[37] and the sisters Ethel and Gogó Rojo.[38] Others arisen at that time and that remained in force in the following years were Susana Giménez,[39] Moria Casán[40] and Bettina Vardé.[41]

In the 1990s, new vedettes appeared, some of which would spread their fame to the next decade, such as Cris Miró,[42] María Fernanda Callejón and Monica Ayos.[43]

In the first years of the XXI century there is a return of the revues in the Avenida Corrientes with figures like Florencia de la V,[44] María Eugenia Ritó,[45] Adabel Guerrero,[46] and Valeria Archimó.[47]


The image of the Vedette in Mexico arises from the beginning of the XX Century with the rise of the called "Carpas" and the Revues. Some venues such as Teatro Principal[48] and Teatro Lírico[49] were considered as the cathedral of the revues and burlesque in Mexico City. There arise figures like Lupe Vélez, that before being consecrated like star in Hollywood, was considered one of the queens of the frivolous theater.[50] The maximum figure of the time was Maria Conesa "The White Kitten", which also had a very long career spanning theater, film and television.[51] Other outstanding figures of the time were Esperanza Iris,[52] Celia Montalván,[53] Lupe Rivas Cacho,[54] Amparo Arozamena,[55] Prudencia Grifell,[56] Celia Padilla[57] and Mimí Derba,[58] among others.

In the 1950s[59] comes a resurgence of nightlife in Mexico City. Venues like the Tivoli, the Waikikí, the Margo (after the Teatro Blanquita), among others, became the main forums for the blossoming of the vedettes. Special mention should be made of the Exoticas, a group of vedettes that caused fury in Mexico's nightlife in the late 1940s and early 1950s. These "Exoticas" were characterized by using extravagant names and their shows where they included African, Tahitian or Oriental dances.[60] The most famous of the "Exoticas" was Yolanda Montes "Tongolele",[61] the first of all this series of figures, and has remained in force for more than sixty years. Other famous Exotics were Su Muy Key,[62] Trudi Bora, Kalantán, Turanda, Joyce Cameron, Tanabonga, Tundra, Gemma, Eda Lorna, Kurumba, Bongala, Tula Montenegro, Brenda Conde, Josefina del Mar and Naná.[63]

Parallel to the success of the Exoticas, they appear in Mexico the famous "Rumberas", dancers of Afro-American rhythms. The Rumberas managed to create their own cinematographic genre: The Rumberas film[64] In the called Golden Age of Mexican cinema. The Rumberas films reflected in many of its arguments the life of the women in the night centers and cabarets. The main exponents of the genre were the Cubans María Antonieta Pons,[65] Amalia Aguilar,[66] Ninón Sevilla[67] and Rosa Carmina[68] as well the Mexican Meche Barba.[69] These women were complete vedettes who never needed to explicitly teach their bodies, captivating audiences only with their dances and other stage talents. The Rumberas also performed shows and live performances in important venues. With the decline of the Rumberas film in the mid-fifties, some rumberas broadened their horizons and ventured into vedette shows. Particularly remembered are the live shows of Amalia Aguilar and Rosa Carmina, who even filled stadiums in various countries in Central and South America. The Cuban Rosita Fornés deserves special mention. She reaches the final consecration in Mexico before conquering the rest of the continent.[70]

In the 1960s the splendor of the vedettes in Mexico loses force. Even so, they are worth mentioning the shows offered by stars as Ana Luisa Peluffo[71] Jacqueline Voltaire, Malú Reyes and Ana Bertha Lepe[72]

The 1970s and 1980s are considered the golden era of the Vedettes in Mexico, thanks to a massive revival of nightlife in the country's capital. Nightclubs, cabarets and popular theaters like the Teatro Blanquita, Terrazza Casino, Capri, El 77, El Quid, El Imperial, Minuet, Rio Rosa, La Burbuja, Las Fabulosas, El Can Can, Las Fuentes, Los Globos, La Concordia, El Salon Mexico, the Fru-Frú Theater, the Hotel Continental's Belvedere and others, reached their greatest splendor with their vedettes shows.[73] In addition, thanks to television, movies and magazines, the vedettes in Mexico reached their highest point of popularity. Many of them also ventured into the cinema, within the so-called Mexican sex comedy.[74] On the other hand, the popular television program Variedades de medianoche (Varieties of the Midnight) contributed to the boom of these women and launched to the fame to dozens of them.[75]

Among the legendary vedettes that illuminated the nightlife of Mexico City are Olga Breeskin, who achieved a great fame for her performances, where she danced wearing low-cut leotards while playing the violin;[76] Angélica Chaín,[77] who achieved fame first in magazines, then start a career as a vedette and finally consecrate herself in the cinema; Lila Deneken "The Number One", important singer and the first Latin American star to present a show at the Monte-Carlo Sporting Club;[78] the Argentine Zulma Faiad;[79] Princesa Lea,[80] very popular for presenting a show in which she bathed in a glass of champagne; Lyn May,[81] of Chinese ancestry, pioneer of the nudes and one of the principal stars of the burlesque; Rossy Mendoza,[82] known popularly as "The Body" or "The Shorter Waist", thanks to her impressive anatomy; Sasha Montenegro,[83] who on par of her film career performed live shows that attracted the public because of her popularity; Grace Renat, The Goddess of the Night,[84] Irma Serrano,[85] who scandalized at the time with her controversial theatrical spectacles in the enclosure of her property, the Theater Fru-Frú; Wanda Seux,[86] called "The Golden Bomb" and considered the "Barbie" of the vedettes for her thin figure and blonde hair; Thelma Tixou "The Girl of the Golden Body",[87] native of Argentina, famous for her stature and imposing physique, and star for several years of the famous cabaret El Capri, and Princesa Yamal,[88] that before arriving at Mexico was star of the night center Playboy in Panama.

Other outstanding figures were Brigitte Aubé, Cleopatra,[89] Amira Cruzat,[90] Alejandra del Moral,[91] Mora Escudero,[92] Gioconda,[93] Gloriella,[94] Ivonne Govea,[95] Iris Cristal,[96] Yolanda Liévana,[97] Norma Lee,[98] Mara Marú,[99] Melina Mey,[100] Gina Montes,[101] Valeria Pani,[102] Noelia Noel,[96] Gabriela Ríos,[103] Olga Ríos,[96] Lina Santos,[104] Merle Uribe[105] and Judith Velasco Herrera,[92] among many others.

In the year 2016, the filmmaker María José Cuevas made the documentary Beauties of the Night, which portrays the life of five of these great vedettes.[106]

One of the last great vedettes in Mexico was Francis García, a transvestite artist who was the main star of the Teatro Blanquita for more than a decade.[107] In recent years, large night centers have virtually disappeared from Mexico. Some actresses and singers perform shows of vedettes in other venues, such as the Palenques. Among them are figures such as Costa Rican Maribel Guardia,[108] Mexicans Lorena Herrera, Mariana Seoane[109] and Ninel Conde and the Cubans Niurka Marcos[110] and Lis Vega.[111]

United States[edit]

Although the term vedette is not commonly used in the United States or other Anglo-Saxon countries, the fact is that in the country have highlighted a lot of vedettes (denominated in the country as Showgirls). Las Vegas is considered, after Paris, as the main venue for revue shows and musicals worldwide.

Of the most famous American vedettes stand out May Yohé, one of the most valued figures of the vaudeville at the beginning of the century;[112] The aforementioned Josephine Baker, who ended up consecrating herself in France, where she was more popular than in her own country; Fanny Brice, star of the famous Ziegfeld Follies, queen of the theater, revues and later also star of cinema and the radio;[113] Sally Rand, actress and dancer, specializing in fan dancing, which she popularized at the Paramount Club, and who because of the postures considered indecent she adopted with the dance was sometimes arrested. Also conceived the famous dance of the bubble;[114] Zorita, famous for her shows where she played double roles and for her dances where she used boas and other exotic animals;[115] Evelyn West, also known as "The Hubba Hubba Girl", a burlesque legend of the forties, fifties and sixties;[116] Ann Corio, who also works in several Hollywood films;[117] Mae West, who achieved tremendous fame, first in theater and then in Hollywood, where she scandalized censorship for her provocative behavior and spicy phrases. In the 1950s and 1960s, she achieved fame in her shows, which included groups of dancers and bodybuilders;[118] Gypsy Rose Lee, immortalized in the famous autobiographical musical Gypsy. Her innovations consisted of a casual style, against the spasmodic movements of other strippers (she emphasized the joke during the striptease) and brought a keen sense of humor to her performances. She was one of the main stars of the Minsky's Burlesque, with whom she worked four years. Working with the Minsky brothers was arrested several times.[119] Another important figure of this time was Novita "The Pixie of Burlesque", one of the founders of the Exotic Dancers League (EDL).[120]

In the 1960s and 1970s some burlesque figures peaked in the United States, particularly at the shows offered in Las Vegas. Of these, highlighted Tempest Storm,[121] Lili St. Cyr,[122] Blaze Starr,[123] Tura Satana,[124] Bambi Jones[125] and Satan's Angel.[126]

The most important in recent years has undoubtedly been Liza Minnelli[127]

Today, among the most famous vedettes in the United States are Dita Von Teese, who was the star of Crazy Horse,[128] Julie Atlas Muz,[129] Michelle L'amour,[130] Catherine D'lish,[131] Miss Dirty Martini,[132] the British Immodesty Blaze,[133] Angie Pontani,[134] Roxi Dlite,[135] Jo Weldon[136] and the Singaporean Sukki Singapora, the first international burlesque artist in Singapore. Singapora became the first burlesque artist in the world to be invited to tea at Buckingham Palace as a recognition of her contribution to the arts as an Asian model.[137]

Other vedettes[edit]

Other prominent vedettes that have appeared in the world are the Puertorrican Iris Chacón,[138] the Brazilian Luz del Fuego,[139] the Cubans Chelo Alonso and Rita Montaner,[140] the Peruvian Amparo Brambilla[141] and the Venezuelan Diosa Canales.[142]

Fictional vedettes[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Vedette
  2. ^ Biographies of "The Three Graces" of the Belle Epoque at Edwardian
  3. ^ Biography of Mistinguett
  4. ^ Joséphine Baker's official biography
  5. ^ Biography of Coccinelle in her official web page
  6. ^ La Bella Otero
  7. ^ Article about Encarnación Fernández
  8. ^ The Career of Celia Gámez
  9. ^ Hemeroteca ABC: Paquita Garzón
  10. ^ The Mysterious vedette Tina de jarque
  11. ^ Biography of Rosario Soler in her Official page
  12. ^ Jotdown. es: La Tórtola Valencia
  13. ^ Hemeroteca ABC: Laura Pinillos
  14. ^ La Zarzuela
  15. ^ History of the Spanish Revue
  16. ^ El Queta Claver
  17. ^ Raquel Daina
  18. ^ Carmen de Lirio in the Gran Enciclopedia Aragonesa.
  19. ^ El Katia Loritz
  20. ^ Article about Lina Morgan
  21. ^ Hemeroteca ABC: Article about María José Cantudo
  22. ^ Biografí Eva León Conde
  23. ^ Javier Barreiro: Lita Claver "La Maña"
  24. ^ Norma Duval
  25. ^ La revista Musical Blog: Maripepa
  26. ^ Official biography of Marlène Mourreau(in French)
  27. ^ Article about the Teatro Maipo and its Revue shows
  28. ^ Article about Tita Merello in La Nación
  29. ^ Article about Blanquita Amaro in tangoreporter
  30. ^ Biography of Amelita Vargas
  31. ^ Rosita Fornés Official page
  32. ^ Article about Nélida Roca
  33. ^ Zulma Faiad in IMDb
  34. ^ Article about Nélida Lobato
  35. ^ Interview with Egle Martin
  36. ^ Biography of Iris Chacón
  37. ^ Interview with Graciela Alfano in La Nación
  38. ^ Article about Ethel Rojo y Gogo Rojo
  39. ^ Article about Susana Giménez
  40. ^ Interview with Moria Casán
  41. ^ Article about Bettina Vardé
  42. ^ Article about Cris Miró
  43. ^ Article about Mónica Ayos
  44. ^ Article about Florencia de la V
  45. ^ Biography of María Eugenia Ritó
  46. ^ Biography of Adabel Guerrero in her Official Webpage
  47. ^ Article about Valeria Archimó
  48. ^ History of the Teatro Principal of México (1753-1931)
  49. ^ Guide of the Centro Histórico of México City: The Teatro Lírico
  50. ^ Short biography of Lupe Velez
  51. ^ Biography of María Conesa
  52. ^ Biography of Esperanza Iris
  53. ^ Mexican Silent Cinema and its stars
  54. ^ Mexican Comedians: Lupe Rivas Cacho
  55. ^ Biography of Amparo Arozamena
  56. ^ about Prudencia Griffel
  57. ^ Pinterest: Celia Padilla, tiple and vedette
  58. ^ Article about Mimí Derba
  59. ^ Cabarets in Mexico in the 1950s
  60. ^ "Tongolele" and the "Exóticas"
  61. ^ "Tongolele", Legendary Vedette
  62. ^ Article about Su Muy Key
  63. ^ Por esto Yucatán: The Amazing World of the Exoticas
  64. ^ The Rumberas film
  65. ^ Biography of María Antonieta Pons in IMBd
  66. ^ Biography of Amalia Aguilar in her Web Site
  67. ^ Biography of Ninón Sevilla
  68. ^ Short biography of Rosa Carmina
  69. ^ Short biography of Meche Barba
  70. ^ Rosita Fornés, the "First Vedette of America"
  71. ^ Article about Ana Luisa Peluffo
  72. ^ Article about Ana Bertha Lepe
  73. ^ Revista Cinefagia: Tivoli and other cabarets in México
  74. ^ Article about Cine de ficheras
  75. ^ Cinematerapia: Variedades de Medianoche
  76. ^ Biography of Olga Breeskin
  77. ^ Biography and photos of Angélica Chain
  78. ^ Article about Lila Deneken
  79. ^ Short biography of Zulma Faiad
  80. ^ Short article about Princesa Lea
  81. ^ Biography and photos of Lyn May
  82. ^ Short biography of Rossy Mendoza in IMDb
  83. ^ Article about Sasha Montenegro
  84. ^ El Universal: The Vedettes of the Seventies
  85. ^ Biography of Irma Serrano
  86. ^ Article about Wanda Seux
  87. ^ Article about Thelma Tixou
  88. ^ Short article about Princesa Yamal
  89. ^ Bitácora Blog: Article about Cleopatra and other vedettes
  90. ^ El Universal:The Vedettes of the Seventies
  91. ^ Letras Alejandra del Moral
  92. ^ a b Article about Norma Lee y other vedettes
  93. ^ La Jornada: Artículo sobre Gioconda
  94. ^ Article about Gloriella
  95. ^ Article about Ivonne Govea
  96. ^ a b c Vedettes of "Variedades de medianoche"
  97. ^ Short biography of Yolanda Liévana in IMDb
  98. ^ Norma Lee in ImDb
  99. ^ Mara Marú & El Capri
  100. ^ Cinematerapia Blog: Vedettes de Variedades de medianoche
  101. ^ Article about Gina Montes
  102. ^ Hazte pa' aca Blog: Valeria Pani
  103. ^ Cinematerapia Blog: Vedettes of "Variedades de medianoche"
  104. ^ Article about Lina Santos and other actresses
  105. ^ Article about Merle Uribe
  106. ^ Beauties of the Night, documentary about the Mexican vedettes
  107. ^ Article about Francis
  108. ^ Article about Maribel Guardia
  109. ^ Article about Mariana Seoane
  110. ^ Article about Niurka Marcos
  111. ^ Article about Lis Vega
  112. ^ Fascinating Women: May Yohé
  113. ^ Biography of Fanny Brice
  114. ^ Biography of Sally Rand in
  115. ^ Scalar.usc: Zorita y sus bailes exóticos
  116. ^ Evelyn West en IMdB
  117. ^ Burlesque Hall of Fame: Ann Corio
  118. ^ Biography of Mae West
  119. ^ Biography of Gypsy Rose Lee
  120. ^ Burlesque Hall of Fame: Novita
  121. ^ Tempest Storm en
  122. ^ Biografía de Lili St. Cyr in IMdB
  123. ^ Biography of Blaze Starr in BigStory
  124. ^ El Paí Article aboutTura Satana
  125. ^ Burlesque Hall of Fame: Bambi Jones
  126. ^ Satan's Agel in her Official Website
  127. ^ Biography of Liza Minnelli
  128. ^ Interview with Dita Von Teese El Mundo
  129. ^ Article about Julie Atlas Muz
  130. ^ Michelle L'amour Official Website
  131. ^ The New York Times: Catherin D'lish
  132. ^ Miss Dirty Martini
  133. ^ Immodesty Blaze
  134. ^ Angie Pontani
  135. ^ Las Vegas Roxi Dlite
  136. ^ Jo Weldon
  137. ^ Interview with Sukki Singapora
  138. ^ Biography of Iris Chacón
  139. ^ Biografía de Luz del Fuego (en portugués)
  140. ^ Article about Rita Montaner
  141. ^ Article about Amparo Branbilla
  142. ^ Diosa Canales in her Official Website

External links[edit]