Dixie Evans is known as one of the most influential burlesque dancers for what she gave the industry. Learn about this burlesque legend.
Dixie Evans Burlesque Legend
Burlesque legend, Dixie Evans landed on the scene during the 1950s and quickly became known as ‘The Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque’. Her blonde bombshell looks hit directly on the pop culture zietgeist of the time.
Add her penchant for satire and you have a potent mix for a burlesque star. This included her infamous, raunchy ‘Casting Coach’ burlesque act. Plus, she parodied many of Marilyn’s acting roles.
Marilyn Monroe herself, however, once attempted to sue Dixie Evans for using her image. Fortunately, it did not stick.
Although, it turns out that one does not simply stumble into the limelight. Who knew. Dixie Evans began her career as a model turned chorus girl before rising to star dancer.
Then on the West Coast of America she was approached by Harold Minksy of Minsky’s Burlesque. His family business was very influential on the New York burlesque scene.
He offered her a job if she became an impersonator of the up and coming actress, Marilyn Monroe. It was then that her gimmick was established.
After the actress’ death in 1962 and her following tribute, she found the attention of the similarity difficult to bare. Though, Dixie Evans adapted her look and act, censorship and changing audiences saw burlesque dwindling.
Evans went onto manage the entertainment at a resort before being recruited by fellow burlesque legend Jennie Lee.
Burlesque Hall of Fame
The Founder of The Exotic Dancers’ League of North America (EDL) had been fighting for higher pay. An issue which had dogged both their careers. Jennie Lee’s next idea was to create a retirement plan and fund for burlesque dancers.
She had begun a collection of burlesque costumes and memorabilia. This became the Exotic World museum in Helendale, California.
Upon Jennie Lee’s failing health, Dixie Evans took up the baton and continued her work. This was in turn to become her crowning glory.
The collection has now grown considerably and moved to Downtown Las Vegas. It’s also now known as the Burlesque Hall of Fame.
The accompanying Miss Exotic World Pageant launched in 1991 at the California ranch. Dixie Evans strategically invited big stars who she name-checked in the press release garnering the attention she desired.
The Miss Exotic World competition has developed into the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender in Las Vegas. It is a dream and a pilgrimage for many modern burlesque dancers and legends alike.
It is split into two days: the Tournament of Tease and the Titans of Tease. The new stars pushing the industry and the women who defined it.
The success of this venture can be put down to Dixie Evans’ ingenuity but also her timing. The industry was seeing a revival of performers who felt overlooked by modern dance and media. The BHoF has given them a place to learn about the history and build a community.
Watch Dixie Evans’ final performance at BHoF Weekend from Satan’s Angel: Queen of the Fire Tassels documentary.
Dixie Evans Week
In 2013 Dixie Evans became ill and Dixie Evans Week was launched by the industry. The aim was to cover her medical expenses and later her funeral. Unsurprisingly, there was an out-pouring of support and the goal was reached.
There were over 30 live burlesque performances held in support of the cause. Moreover, almost 100 burlesque classes were conducted internationally for the event.
The support for Dixie Evans finally saw the original dream of supporting retired burlesque dancers come true. A beautiful moment of unity for the global community.
Watch our quick-fire answer to: what is burlesque?