51 Vintage Backstage Photos of Boston Showgirls during the 1940s

Showgirls date back to the late 1800s in Parisian music halls and cabarets such as the Moulin Rouge, Le Lido, and the Folies Bergère. The trafficking of showgirls for the purposes of prostitution was the subject of a salacious novel by the nineteenth-century French author Ludovic Halévy.

The first casino on the Las Vegas Strip to employ dancing girls as a diversion between acts was the El Rancho Vegas in 1941. Showgirls were presented in Las Vegas in 1952 as the opening and closing act for Las Vegas headliners, sometimes dancing around the headliner. They were introduced at the Sands Casino for a show with Danny Thomas. In 1957, Minsky’s Follies took the stage at the Desert Inn giving birth to the topless showgirl in Vegas. This was followed by a long-running The Lido de Paris at the Stardust Casino that ran for 31 years. Traditionally, Las Vegas showgirls are classically trained dancers with skills in Ballet and Jazz dance.

(Photos from Boston Public Library)

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