A stripper or exotic dancer is a person whose occupation involves performing striptease in a public adult entertainment venue such as a strip club. At times, a stripper may be hired to perform at a bachelor party or other private event. Modern Americanized forms of stripping minimize interaction by strippers with customers, reducing the importance of tease in the performance in favor of speed to undress strip. The integration of the burlesque pole as a nearly ubiquitous prop has shifted the emphasis in the performance toward a more acrobatic, explicit expression compared to the slow-developing burlesque style.
With each passing day, the strip club in downtown Manhattan grew a little emptier. Fewer customers were drinking premium liquor and eating steaks in the plush banquettes; fewer patrons were sitting at the edge of the blue-lit stage; fewer clients were throwing dollar bills at the dancers performing on poles or in their laps. As the city slowly woke up to the spread of the coronavirus this spring, so, too, did the dancers at clubs across town, whose work necessitates being physically close to strangers: talking to them, consoling them, and entertaining them. The club was not going to take care of us. We were left to fend for ourselves. The pandemic has created a catastrophic health and economic crisis that has illuminated the fragile existence of low-wage and gig workers in the United States.