The latest offshoot of the Burlesque craze involves the largely female participants ’sexually empowering’ themselves through ‘provocative performances of perambulation’ in edgy inner city surroundings. ‘Flash mobs’ of motorists are encouraged to congregate and view the performances by driving along the chosen ‘performance zones’ at low speed.
The practise originated in Hollywood, where it is known as ‘Drive Thru Burlesque’, crossing the Atlantic thanks to the movie Extra Sauce featuring Britney Spears and Tina Turner, and a best-selling exercise DVD from Miley Cyrus. It has been taken up by thousands of professionals and bored housewives looking for a fun new way to keep fit.
Already it has become one of the most popular evening courses at colleges around the country, overtaking French, Pole Dancing and Sanskrit. ‘It’s so empowering for me as a woman’ enthused Trisha, a financial advisor from Putney ‘plus it’s great exercise: promenading in those high heels has really strengthened my calf muscles and leaning forward to talk to the motorists has really tightened my lower abdomen.’
Home-grown Pavement Burlesque has already gained a reputation back in the US. Well-known Anglophile Madonna recently arranged for a number of regulars from Nottingham’s Trent Park area to perform their act at her 52nd birthday party and then shoot a video with her.
But this latest expression of female emancipation has drawn opprobrium from the police. ‘What these women don’t realise is the mild traffic congestion that they can cause if their performances get out of hand‘ cautioned Detective Inspector Simon Park of the Police Federation of England and Wales, ‘What these amateur enthusisasts need is regulation, and we haven’t got the time and resources to do that. Perhaps some enterprising individuals will intervene and take charge.’