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Chorus Girls

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"What do you go for,
Go see a show for?
Tell the truth, you go to see those beautiful dames."
Dames, title song


Often, one Ms. Fanservice is not enough. So, a show may fill itself to the brim with sexy young ladies in Stripperiffic costumes. Having a chorus of showgirls dance with plenty of wiggles and high kicks helps keep the men in the audience entertained. A kick line also adds some flair to the Last Chorus Slow-Down.

This was fairly common in earlier musicals, back in the days when the target audience member was the proverbial "tired businessman" (nowadays, he would go to a strip club). Thus the horror whenever someone in Jeeves and Wooster set their sights on "a chorus girl".

A Sister Trope to Lovely Assistant, and the most essential component of the Busby Berkeley Number. Always Female, unless maybe a Drag Queen shows up.

Compare the Jiggle Show (the women are actually the stars of the show, rather than decoration).

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  • A popular subject in Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's paintings, which frequently depicted high-kicking chorus girls doing the can-can.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Producers the flamboyant stage director takes the World War II drama Springtime for Hitler and turns it into a musical, complete with goose-stepping chorus girls.
  • Busby Berkeley made a career out of this. Berkeley was a director/choreographer of musical numbers so iconic that they're called Busby Berkeley Numbers. His trademark numbers would feature dozens and dozens of chorus girls, always in skimpy costumes and sometimes in downright Stripperific costumes, filling the whole screen as they danced in intricate, complex geometric patterns. The title number of Dames (quoted above) is a typical example, not only performed by Chorus Girls but sung in praise of them.
  • Moulin Rouge!: The titular location has a troop of these known as the "Diamond Dogs" who appear throughout the movie as backing dancers in the musical numbers. Each one wears a themed costume meant to reflect a specific Fanservice archetype.
  • In Stonewall the Stonewall patrons form a kickline and chant taunts at the police.
  • Murder at the Vanities: It's a musical musical filled with chorus girls, wearing Stripperific costumes, or wearing lingerie, or, most unbelievably, topless with Hand-or-Object Underwear. In fact, they are billed first in the credits collectively as "The Most Beautiful Girls In The World" (this was an actual tag line from the actual stage show the film is based on). Ann's first song in the show is a whole number about the chorus girls called "Where Do They Come From (and Where Do They Go)?".
  • Schindler's List: At the start of the film, Oskar Schindler attends a party where a trio of leggy dancers entertain the guests.

  • Sherlock Holmes: In The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor, Flora Miller, a former lover of the titular Lord Robert St. Simon, worked as a dancer at the Allegro Theatre in London.
  • Star Wars Legends: Parodied in Starfighters of Adumar, when eternal prankster Wes Janson gets a cloak composed of flexible flat-panel monitors. One of the animations it displays is a chorus line of (fully clothed) Jansons.

    Live-Action TV 
  • When Have I Got News for You moved to BBC1, they opened their first episode by promising the show wouldn't change. This was followed by a line of chorus girls kicking their way across the set to burlesque music. (On the "Very Best of HIGNFY" DVD Commentary, Paul Merton calls this "a poor idea, badly executed." Ian Hislop: "I'm glad it's in, then.")

  • 1970s French singer Claude François surrounded himself with 4 to 6 female dancers in his performances. They were nicknamed the "Claudettes".
  • The "Yay! Boo!" Song {which doesn't actually have any music], reproduced here in its entirety: Eight dancing girls— (Yay!) —wearing sixteen costumes— (Boo!) —made of CELLOPHANE! (Yay!!!)

  • Of Thee I Sing has the candidates for First Lady of the United States parading about the Atlantic City boardwalk in bathing suits. The press corps takes careful aim with their cameras at the girls' knee dimples.
  • In its time, Oklahoma!! was notable for not bringing on Chorus Girls for Fanservice, instead keeping the female ensemble modestly dressed. That is, until the Dream Ballet brought into action a few gaudy dancing girls like those featured in Jud's magazines.
  • Discussed in Carousel. Sometime after the Time Skip, Carrie reports that her husband took her to an "extravaganza" while in New York, but the sight of "twelve hussies with nothin' on their legs but tights" offended his puritanical sensibilities so much that he immediately hustled her out of the theatre. She went back, though.
  • Secondhand Lions: The Musical has the Bollywood-influenced Oujda harem girls during flashback scenes.
  • Fiorello! brings on a batch of chorus girls to tap-dance to "Gentleman Jimmy." (The Real Life Jimmy Walker was famous for having affairs with chorus girls.)
  • In the stage adaptation of The Little Mermaid, the dancing "sea creatures" during "Under the Sea" have showgirl-style costumes.
  • Jesus in Reefer Madness: The Musical is always accompanied by a line of sexy angels who act as his background dancers and backup singers. In some productions, a few male ones may be thrown in as well — or at least two Chippendales Dancers who are capable of lifting him (like in the movie).
  • In Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, Christine is a member of the ballet chorus, and is dressed like a Beautiful Slave Girl when we first see her. When the ballet mistress suggests her to the Paris Opera's new owners as a possible last-minute replacement for Carlotta, one of them responds, "The chorus girl?" in a tone of utter disbelief.

    Video Games 
  • Parodied in Sam & Max: Freelance Police musical number "The War Song", as Agent Superball dances in various Busby formations. His kicks aren't that high, but what do you expect in a standard black suit?
  • Elise the Spider Queen from League of Legends has the Can-Can for her /dance emote. She even does it in a chorus line with her spiderling minions when she transforms into her giant spider form.
  • This shows up in a spectacular fashion partway through Final Fantasy VII Remake. During the rescue mission in Wall Market (the game's somewhat sleezy Las Vegas analog) our hero Cloud is 'noticed' by Andrea Rhodea, the man in charge of the Honey-Bee Inn, a popular sit-down Burlycue & Love Hotel venue; Upon Cloud & Aerith's arrival, they get ushered into an impressive chorerographed musical number with dozens of Honey-Bee Inn girls and guys, helping to establish the mood & vibe immediately just before Cloud's Dance-Off Mini-Game with Rhodea.

    Western Animation 
  • In general, Doofenshmirtz's songs in Phineas and Ferb tend to have a large number of backup singers wearing sexy outfits relevant to the song (as pictured above). Other characters have used them in songs as well; clearly, "sexy backup dancer" is a lucrative job in Danville. Lampshaded on a few occasions when Doofenshmirtz is shown paying the dancers for their gig; they're all in fact working professionals who demand union scale.
  • In the Animaniacs episode "A Christmas Plotz", Yakko's song as the Ghost of Christmas Future is set on a stairway lined with chorus girls. Of course, Yakko flirts with them throughout the song.
  • The opening sequence to Family Guy feature the Griffin family dancing up a flight of stairs lined by high-kicking chorus girls. For the first few seasons these were anonymous characters, but after a few years, they became recognizable as female characters from the show. A variation of the sequence in one episode has Peter lose his footing, fall down the stairs and land on one of the dancers, crushing her to death. Another episode has a dancer confront Peter out of character about an affair and claim that Peter is the father of her child; she is never heard from again.
  • The Romance of Betty Boop: Betty Boop performs as one at the Club Bubbles. The other girls quit, so Betty had to perform on her own.
  • Banjo the Woodpile Cat: Zazu, Melina and Cleo are a G-rated version of this trope. The trio performs for other cats and helps Banjo find his way home.