Today’s lesson plan has us exploring the remarkable Barbara Yung.
Born in 1919 in Oakland, CA, Barbara Yung studied ballet in her younger years before turning to burlesque. She worked at numerous clubs across America but was most famous for her time at the Shanghai Club, The Kubla Khan, The Sky Room and Fong Wan’s Club in the 1940s to 1970s.
Ms. Yung was renowned for her grace and beauty. Typical press photos of her at the height of her career picture her holding two large Chinese fans and wearing large, ornate headpieces. It is known that Barbara Yung was a seamstress, seeing to the construction of her own costumes and best known for her sequin needlework. Ms. Yung also worked with Frank Sinatra as one of his six “Chinese Dancers” in the film Pal Joey.
A well traveled performer, Barbara was a favorite at burlesque clubs in Hawaii, New Orleans’ Bourbon Street, Dallas, Texas, and San Francisco’s Chinatown. Ms. Yung was presented with the 2011 Legend of Burlesque Award by the Burlesque Hall of Fame. Barbara Yung passed away in 2016.