Page last updated at 17:18 GMT, Wednesday, 29 July 2009 18:18 UK

Dancers march over burlesque row

Burlesque dacners
Burlesque includes elements of poetry and dance

Performers have been protesting against a north London council's decision to class burlesque dancing as part of the adult entertainment industry.

Venues in Camden must now apply for an updated licence which is normally required by lap-dancing clubs.

This has led to burlesque performances being cancelled due to increased costs.

Camden Council said it was trying to improve regulations, but demonstrators said its actions were putting the future of burlesque in London at risk.

Dancers, dressed in full burlesque costume, marched from Covent Garden to Camden Town Hall.

A lot of people are desperately upset about this
Ruby Rose, Burlesque Women's Institute

Sam Roddick, daughter of the late Body Shop founder Anita Roddick, said: "We cannot have laws that are based on ignorance.

"Burlesque is not part of the adult entertainment industry.

"Banning burlesque is like banning comedy," said Ms Roddick, the founder of upmarket erotica shop Coco de Mer.

"It's a genre which contains a wide spectrum of performances which should be judged individually."

Lola Labelle, 24, a dancer with the Wam Bam Girls, said the move was a way of raising revenue for the council.

She expressed concern that the change would change the perception of burlesque.

Ruby Rose, founding member of the Burlesque Women's Institute, said that if other boroughs followed suit, it could cause the end of burlesque in the city.

She said: "We're going to inform the council so they can make educated decisions, because a lot of people are desperately upset about this."

Its supporters say that burlesque includes elements of poetry, dance, song, mime and striptease performed with a satirical twist.

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