We're not strippers, burlesque club tells Regina council

Regina's burlesque performers are asking the City of Regina not to lump them in with strip clubs and wet T-shirt contests.

It's a legitimate art form, not the same as bar stripping, group says

Regina's burlesque performers are asking the City of Regina not to lump them in with strip clubs and wet T-shirt contests.

The Bottoms Up Burlesque Group wants to be able to do occasional shows in existing clubs and halls that are licensed to serve alcohol.

Burlesque performers, such as this group in Saskatoon, argue they are a legitimate art form with historic roots in vaudeville and theatre. (CBC)

However, a zoning change that's going before Regina City Council Thursday night would create a new category of business — adult entertainment — and restrict those businesses to industrial areas.

That would mean no strippers allowed at most existing licensed facilities along Albert Street, Dewdney Avenue, 13th Avenue or Victoria Avenue.

But it also means burlesque performers would have no choice but to work out in industrial areas.

In a letter to the city, the Bottoms Up Burlesque Club said that's not fair.

The ban on dancers removing clothing where alcohol is served ended on Jan. 1, although total nudity is still banned. A bar in Codette was one of the first to offer legal strip shows under the new rules. (Ryan Pilon/CBC)

The group says burlesque has a rich history in the theatre and can include skits, political satire and song, as well as dance.

Members of the club include women and men from many backgrounds who practice the art of burlesque for fun and fitness, it said in the letter.

"As you can imagine, our disappointment was bitter when we discovered that burlesque, what we consider to be a historic and culturally relevant form of dance and theatre, would once again be lumped together with permanent 'strip clubs' and wet t-shirt contests, with no consideration of context or event frequency," club spokesman Arloe Scott said in the letter.

As an alternative, the group wants similar rules to the ones Saskatoon has — where adult entertainment shows are allowed one or twice a month in existing facilities.

However, the planning commission is not recommending that option.

City council examined the rules Thursday night and said the first step, in dealing with the issue for burlesque dancers, is to actually approve the bylaw and then determine how it applies to different forms of entertainment. So, the bylaw was approved and the burlesque issue will be looked at within three months.

That change went into effect Jan. 1.