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Vedette (cabaret)

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Vedette (cabaret)

Vedette (in some cases, Supervedette or First Vedette), is the main artist in a musical Revue and Burlesque.


The word "vedette" in French, means "Star of the Show". A vedette is usually a dancer, singer and actress, and usually acts accompanied by a group of dancers and comic actors. "Supervedette" is a term used to distinguish a vedette who is known for her work and talent mainly in theater for many years. The "first vedette" leads all the other vedettes and dancers in a group of two or more vedettes. A "Comic vedette" is a vedette who is at the same level as the first vedette but is distinguished by her acting and comedy rather than her dance ability.

The revues and burlesque shows and vedettes were very successful in the 20th century in Spain, France, and in some Latin American countries such as Argentina and Mexico.


France has been considered the cradle of vedettes worldwide. This is because in its capital, Paris, there are some of the most famous cabarets in the world. Among these are the Moulin Rouge and the Folies Bergère de Paris. Both, the Moulin Rouge and the Folies Bergère, were the pioneers to show night shows in which the vedettes appeared on the scene half naked and doing Tableau vivant. Other famous venues are the Le Lido and Bataclan, also famous for their vaudeville and Revues. In more recent times, this group of entertainment centers would be joined by Crazy Horse.

Among the main vedettes of France, are Émilienne d'Alençon, Liane de Pougy and La Bella Otero, considered the "Three Graces" of Belle Époque. The famous Mistinguett, became one of the most popular French artists of her time and the most important woman in the world of the spectacle, while Madame Rasimi is remembered as the founder of the Bataclan. Another outstanding figure was Gina Palerme At the beginning of the century, the novelist Colette, also distinguished by acting in shows of magazine. Another prominent figure who stood out as vedette at that time is the world-famous Dutch spy Mata Hari.

Joséphine Baker, of American origin, is remembered as one of the most important vedettes of the twentieth century. Her "Revue Nègre", which included a jazz orchestra, caused a sensation in the Parisian cabarets. Her exotic dance form, her uninhibited sexuality and her minimal dress (which included a skirt made with bananas) were more attractive to Europeans than to Americans. She became the star of Parisian nights and even opened her own club: Chez Josephine.

Another important figure was Coccinelle, considered as the first transsexual vedette in history. The actress and singer Liliane Montevecchi stood out as vedette in the Folies Bergère in the 1970s, and eventually conquered Broadway. Another figure of the time was the Italian Xenia Monty.

In recent times they emphasize figures like Arielle Dombasle (known in her facet as vedette like Dolorès Sugar Rose) and Marlène Mourreau.


One of the first vedettes that stood out in Spain are La Bella Otero, a celebrated courtesan settled in France, one of the most outstanding personages of the Belle Époque in the artistic circles and the gallant life of Paris; Luisa Esteso, famous comedian actress; Encarnación Fernández, who did most of her career in Argentina; Celia Gámez (of Argentine origin), one of the most popular stars of Spain in the first half of the twentieth century and who owes much of the splendor of the Revues; Paquita Garzón; Rosario Guerrero (called "The Beautiful Guerrero"); Rosita Rodrigo; Tina de Jarque, Rosario Soler "La Patita", Paquita Escribano, Carmen Tórtola Valencia, specialist in oriental dances and pioneer of women's liberation, and the sisters Laura and Victoria Pinillos.

In the 1940s highlighted figures such as Trini Alonso, María Antinea (also famous in Argentina and Mexico); Maruja Boldoba, Florinda Chico, Gema del Rio, the popular Manolita Chen and her company; Teresita Silva; Maruja Tomás and Helga Liné.

In the following decade highlighted stars like Mary Begoña, one of the comedic actresses par excellence of the Spanish scene; Licia Calderón, Queta Claver (that becomes to become one of the majors vedettes of Spain); Raquel Daina; Marujita Díaz, considered as the "Queen of the Copla" and "Queen of the Spanish Music Revue" and Carmen de Lirio, famous during the dictatorship.

In the sixties, were famous figures such as Mary Santpere, called "La Reina del Paralelo" (The Queen of the Parallel) reach the fame of Barcelona's homonymous street, where the greatest number of theaters were concentrated in the 20th century; Rosita Amores, pioneer of the erotic cabaret in the mid-1960s, and who knew how to outwit Franco's censorship in times when eroticism in Spain was confined to the private sphere, becoming a popular symbol of entertainment in the Valencian Community; Marisol Ayuso; Ingrid Garbo, of German origin; Vicky Lagos; Vicky Lusson; Katia Loritz; Esperanza Roy, and Lina Morgan, one of the country's most momentous comic strips. Special mention deserves Sara Montiel, who along with her prestigious film career, excelled in shows as vedette from this decade.

In the 1970s, highlighted María José Cantudo, who starred in the first full-length female nude (seen through a mirror) of Spanish cinema; Eva León Conde and Barbara Rey.

From the 1980s and 1990s stand out figures such as Lita Claver "La Maña"; Norma Duval, one of the last stars of the traditional magazine, a type of spectacle that during those years was in decline and that was maintained mainly thanks to the tourists who visited Paris; Tania Doris, another one of the last representatives of the sort in Spain ; Paloma Hurtado, María José Nieto "Maripepa", Rosa Valenty, Africa Pratt and the French Marlène Mourreau.

In the last years they have emphasized figures like La Terremoto de Alcorcón and the transsexual actresses ´Bibiana Fernandez, La Veneno and La Prohibida.


The Revue shows were popularized in Buenos Aires, from the 1920s, mainly in the Teatro Maipo. Tita Merello became one of the most famous vedettes of the time.

In the 1950s appeared vedettes of origin Cuban like Blanquita Amaro, Amelia Vargas and Rosita Fornés. They had all the glitz, grace and glamor that characterized the era, and shared the stage with local stars like Nélida Roca.

In the 1960s appeared figures like Zulma Faiad, Nélida Lobato, Susana Brunetti, Norma Pons, Egle Martín and the Puertorrican Iris Chacón, called the "Vedette of America".

The decades of 1970 and 1970 gave way to other stars like Graciela Alfano and the sisters Ethel and Gogó Rojo. Others arisen at that time and that remained in force in the following years were Susana Giménez, Moria Casán and Bettina Vardé.

In the 1990s, new vedettes appeared, some of which would spread their fame to the next decade, such as Cris Miró, María Fernanda Callejón, the Puertorrican Lourdes Chacón and Monica Ayos.

In the first years of the XXI century there is a return of the revues in the Avenida Corrientes with figures like Florencia de la V, María Eugenia Ritó, Adabel Guerrero, and Valeria Archimó.


The image of the Vedette in Mexico arises from the beginning of the XX Century with the rise of the called "Carpas" and the Revues. Some venues such as Teatro Principal and Teatro Lírico were considered as the cathedral of the revues and burlesque in Mexico City. There arise figures like Lupe Vélez, that before being consecrated like star in Hollywood, was considered one of the queens of the frivolous theater. The maximum figure of the time was Maria Conesa "The White Kitten", which also had a very long career spanning theater, film and television. Other outstanding figures of the time were Esperanza Iris, Celia Montalván, Lupe Rivas Cacho, Amparo Arozamena, Prudencia Grifell, Celia Padilla and Mimí Derba, among others.

In the 1950s comes a resurgence of nightlife in Mexico City. Venues like the Tivoli, the Waikikí, the Margo (after the Teatro Blanquita), among others, became the main forums for the blossoming of the vedettes. Special mention should be made of the Exoticas, a group of vedettes that caused fury in Mexico's nightlife in the late 1940s and early 1950s. These "Exoticas" were characterized by using extravagant names and their shows where they included African, Tahitian or Oriental dances. The most famous of the "Exoticas" was Yolanda Montes "Tongolele", the first of all this series of figures, and has remained in force for more than sixty years. Other famous Exotics were Su Muy Key, Trudi Bora, Kalantán, Turanda, Joyce Cameron, Tanabonga, Tundra, Gemma, Eda Lorna, Kurumba, Bongala, Tula Montenegro, Brenda Conde, Josefina del Mar and Naná.

Parallel to the success of the Exoticas, they appear in Mexico the famous "Rumberas", dancers of Afro-American rhythms. The Rumberas managed to create their own cinematographic genre: The Rumberas film In the called Golden Age of Mexican cinema. The Rumberas films reflected in many of its arguments the life of the women in the night centers and cabarets. The main exponents of the genre were the Cubans María Antonieta Pons, Amalia Aguilar, Ninón Sevilla and Rosa Carmina as well the Mexican Meche Barba. These women were complete vedettes who never needed to explicitly teach their bodies, captivating audiences only with their dances and other stage talents. The Rumberas also performed shows and live performances in important venues. With the decline of the Rumberas film in the mid-fifties, some rumberas broadened their horizons and ventured into vedette shows. Particularly remembered are the live shows of Amalia Aguilar and Rosa Carmina, who even filled stadiums in various countries in Central and South America. The Cuban Rosita Fornés deserves special mention. She reaches the final consecration in Mexico before conquering the rest of the continent.

In the 1960s the splendor of the vedettes in Mexico loses force. Even so, they are worth mentioning the shows offered by stars as Ana Luisa Peluffo Jacqueline Voltaire, Malú Reyes and Ana Bertha Lepe

The 1970s and 1980s are considered the golden era of the Vedettes in Mexico, thanks to a massive revival of nightlife in the country's capital. Nightclubs, cabarets and popular theaters like the Teatro Blanquita, Terrazza Casino, Capri, El 77, El Quid, El Imperial, Minuet, Rio Rosa, La Burbuja, Las Fabulosas, El Can Can, Las Fuentes, Los Globos, La Concordia, El Salon Mexico, the Fru-Frú Theater, the Hotel Continental's Belvedere and others, reached their greatest splendor with their vedettes shows. In addition, thanks to television, movies and magazines, the vedettes in Mexico reached their highest point of popularity. Many of them also ventured into the cinema, within the so-called Mexican sex comedy. On the other hand, the popular television program Variedades de medianoche (Varieties of the Midnight) contributed to the boom of these women and launched to the fame to dozens of them.

Among the legendary vedettes that illuminated the nightlife of Mexico City are Olga Breeskin, who achieved a great fame for her performances, where she danced wearing low-cut leotards while playing the violin; Angélica Chaín, who achieved fame first in magazines, then start a career as a vedette and finally consecrate herself in the cinema; Lila Deneken "The Number One", important singer and the first Latin American star to present a show at the Monte-Carlo Sporting Club; the Argentine Zulma Faiad; Princesa Lea, very popular for presenting a show in which she bathed in a glass of champagne; Lyn May, of Chinese ancestry, pioneer of the nudes and one of the principal stars of the burlesque; Rossy Mendoza, known popularly as "The Body" or "The Shorter Waist", thanks to her impressive anatomy; Sasha Montenegro, who on par of her film career performed live shows that attracted the public because of her popularity; Grace Renat, The Goddess of the Night, Irma Serrano, who scandalized at the time with her controversial theatrical spectacles in the enclosure of her property, the Theater Fru-Frú; Wanda Seux, called "The Golden Bomb" and considered the "Barbie" of the vedettes for her thin figure and blonde hair; Thelma Tixou "The Girl of the Golden Body", native of Argentina, famous for her stature and imposing physique, and star for several years of the famous cabaret El Capri, and Princesa Yamal, that before arriving at Mexico was star of the night center Playboy in Panama.

Other outstanding figures were Brigitte Aubé, Cleopatra, Amira Cruzat, Alejandra del Moral, Mora Escudero, Gioconda, Gloriella, Ivonne Govea, Iris Cristal, Yolanda Liévana, Norma Lee, Mara Marú, Melina Mey, Gina Montes, Valeria Pani, Noelia Noel, Gabriela Ríos, Olga Ríos, Lina Santos, Merle Uribe and Judith Velasco Herrera, among many others.

In the year 2016, the filmmaker María José Cuevas made the documentary Beauties of the Night, which portrays the life of five of these great vedettes.

One of the last great vedettes in Mexico was Francis García, a transvestite artist who was the main star of the Teatro Blanquita for more than a decade. In recent years, large night centers have virtually disappeared from Mexico. Some actresses and singers perform shows of vedettes in other venues, such as the Palenques. Among them are figures such as Costa Rican Maribel Guardia, Mexicans Lorena Herrera, Mariana Seoane and Ninel Conde and the Cubans Niurka Marcos and Lis Vega.

United States

Although the term vedette is not commonly used in the United States or other Anglo-Saxon countries, the fact is that in the country have highlighted a lot of vedettes (denominated in the country as Showgirls). Las Vegas is considered, after Paris, as the main venue for revue shows and musicals worldwide.

Of the most famous American vedettes stand out May Yohé, one of the most valued figures of the vaudeville at the beginning of the century; The aforementioned Josephine Baker, who ended up consecrating herself in France, where she was more popular than in her own country; Fanny Brice, star of the famous Ziegfeld Follies, queen of the theater, revues and later also star of cinema and the radio; Sally Rand, actress and dancer, specializing in fan dancing, which she popularized at the Paramount Club, and who because of the postures considered indecent she adopted with the dance was sometimes arrested. Also conceived the famous dance of the bubble; Zorita, famous for her shows where she played double roles and for her dances where she used boas and other exotic animals; Evelyn West, also known as "The Hubba Hubba Girl", a burlesque legend of the forties, fifties and sixties; Ann Corio, who also works in several Hollywood films; Mae West, who achieved tremendous fame, first in theater and then in Hollywood, where she scandalized censorship for her provocative behavior and spicy phrases. In the 1950s and 1960s, she achieved fame in her shows, which included groups of dancers and bodybuilders; Gypsy Rose Lee, immortalized in the famous autobiographical musical Gypsy. Her innovations consisted of a casual style, against the spasmodic movements of other strippers (she emphasized the joke during the striptease) and brought a keen sense of humor to her performances. She was one of the main stars of the Minsky's Burlesque, with whom she worked four years. Working with the Minsky brothers was arrested several times. Another important figure of this time was Novita "The Pixie of Burlesque", one of the founders of the Exotic Dancers League (EDL).

In the 1960s and 1970s some burlesque figures peaked in the United States, particularly at the shows offered in Las Vegas. Of these, highlighted Tempest Storm, Lili St. Cyr, Blaze Starr, Tura Satana, Bambi Jones and Satan's Angel.

The most important in recent years has undoubtedly been Liza Minnelli

Today, among the most famous vedettes in the United States are Dita Von Teese, who was the star of Crazy Horse, Julie Atlas Muz, Michelle L'amour, Catherine D'lish, Miss Dirty Martini, the British Immodesty Blaze, Angie Pontani, Roxi Dlite, Jo Weldon and the Singaporean Sukki Singapora, the first international burlesque artist in Singapore. Singapora became the first burlesque artist in the world to be invited to tea at Buckingham Palace as a recognition of her contribution to the arts as an Asian model.

Other vedettes

Other prominent vedettes that have appeared in the world are the Puertorrican Iris Chacón, the Brazilian Luz del Fuego, the Cubans Chelo Alonso and Rita Montaner, the Peruvian Amparo Brambilla and the Venezuelan Diosa Canales.


  • Lola-Lola in the film The Blue Angel (1930)
  • Gypsy Rose Lee in the film Gypsy (1962)
  • Sally Bowles in the film Cabaret (1972)
  • Miss Piggy in The Muppet Show (1976)
  • Jessica Rabbit in the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
  • Satine in the film Moulin Rouge! (2001)
  • Roxie Hart in the film Chicago (2002)
  • References

    Vedette (cabaret) Wikipedia

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