How did "exotic" come to mean "erotic" as in "exotic dancer"?

Exotic dancers have been in the news of late, and that reminds me of a something I’ve long wondered about. Everybody understands the phrase exotic dancer to mean an erotic dancer, and, usually, specifically one who stips, but not quite all the way. The word exotic doesn’t quite make sense in this context, so how did it come to be used this way?

I’m thinking it was from some sort of specific usage, like in Victorian-era rural fairs where there would be women dancers pretending to be from distant countries and showing bare calves and midriffs–much more than was otherwise acceptable back then–and you’d have the menfolk sneaking off to have a look while the wife and kids were trying to knock down the coconuts along the midway.

I always assumed they chose this as the euphemism for “stripper” because it didn’t look so tawdry on a sign. And it probably goes back to that fan-dancing chick from way back when.

Will Safire took up this very issue a few weeks ago in his “On Language” column.

Times select required.

It’s tricky to even summarize. . .exotic was used for diffferent types of indian/belly dance things around turn of the century. Into the 30’s “exotic” was used as a sub-type of some burlesque dancing.

I don’t want to quote too much of the article, but a particularly germaine section is this. . .

(I like the term “peeler”).

He follows that with this:

My WAG is that the exotic part originated with Belly dancers and the like. The Phrase Exotic dancer is not in it does list several possible clues:
**hoochy koochy **
“erotic suggestive women’s dance” (involving a lot of hip-grinding), 1898, of obscure origin, usually associated, without evidence, with the Chicago world’s fair of 1893 and **belly-dancer Little Egypt ** (who may not even have been there), but the word itself is attested from 1890, as the stage name of minstrel singer “Hoochy-Coochy Rice,” though its meaning there is unclear, perhaps a nonsense word.
**exotic **
1599, “belonging to another country,” from L. exoticus, from Gk. exotikos “foreign,” lit. “from the outside,” from exo- “outside,” from ex “out of.” Sense of “unusual, strange” first recorded in Eng. 1629, from notion of “alien, outlandish.” **In reference to strip-teasers and dancing girls, it is first attested 1954, Amer.Eng. **
**go-go **
1964, “fashionable,” from slang the go “the rage” (1962); see go. First appearance of go-go dancer is from 1965.
**stripper **
“strip-tease dancer” is from 1930, from strip (v.). Strip-tease itself is first recorded 1936, though strip and tease were both used in this sense in late 1920s.

Sorry I cannot be more helpful,

Sally Rand?
An exotic dancer, Not a stripper, full body suit, feather fans, and low level spot lighting for the overall effect.

Had a short “come on in” sort of showcase showing at the 1933 or 34 World’s Fair in Chicage.
Admission to the inside show too steep for a depression era kid, not to mention age restrictions.

PS The Vaudville strip tease shows were on S. State Stree just outside the loop.