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Stephanie Blake

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Joan Arline, the Sexquire Girl

For her series Dames: The Legends of Burlesque, New-York based photographer Stephanie Diani photographed older dancers wearing costumes that were significant or special to them. They ladies are portrayed in their homes or in the hotel rooms where they stayed in the past while performing in Las Vegas. Their personalities differ, but what they all have in common is grace, courage and self-possession.

Diani shot the series in 2009 and 2010, but the idea had been percolating in her mind for a number of years. “I’d seen a Legends of Burlesque show in 2001 at performer Dixie Evans’ home out in the California desert, the original location of the burlesque Hall of Fame, and loved how brassy and confident the women were. They were ladies who had been performing for decades and still loved what they did. The first woman that I photographed was Dusty Summers, and one performer led to another. They were fabulous to work with,” says Diani.

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Sheila Rae

Marinka (aka Maria Portnoy), was photographed in her Las Vegas,

Marinka

Candy Baby Caramelo started performing at seven, and started per

Candy Baby Caramelo

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Satan’s Angel

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April March

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Dusty Summers

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Big Fanny Annie

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Isis Starr

All images © Stephanie Diani

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