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A little slice of Paris comes to Canberra

Ashleigh Went

In an old building in Paris, all covered in lights, stand twelve nude girls, in a single straight line…

Ever since I read Ludwig Bemelman’s Madeleine as a child, it’s been a dream – a fantasy – to go to Paris. Having returned from the city of love just a few weeks ago, I can confirm that Paris was everything I’d dreamed of, and more.

The Eiffel Tower is, of course, divine; the Arc de Triomph, lovely; and the patisseries… well, I probably frequented those a touch too often. My favourite Parisian destination though, was a little more adult: the Crazy Horse Paris.

In an event that can only be attributed to divine intervention (and the gorgeous staff at the Canberra Theatre Centre) I’d secured tickets to Crazy Horse Paris. On my birthday. In Paris. (Did I mention that already?).

If you haven’t heard of Crazy Horse Paris, it’s a nude cabaret institution in Paris, famous for its beautiful Crazy girls, sensual dance numbers, mesmerising visual displays and a certain je ne sais quoi. And it’s coming to Canberra Theatre Centre this October.

AlbertoBaracchini@BabyBuns_02-2

From the moment the Crazy Horse Paris even came into my view on the Avenue George V, it took my breath away. Giant, glowing, glittering red lips signal the glamour within. As soon as you enter you’re whisked into the Crazy fantasy – an opulent world completely its own. I was led into the secret backstage area to interview two of the dancers – Fasty Wizz and Mika Do.

To become a Crazy girl is a feat in itself. You have to be exactly the right height (168cm – 173cm), with the right proportions (1/3 legs to 2/3 torso), with the space between the tips of your breast measuring exactly 21cm, and 13cm between your belly button and pubis. Not to mention: be a classically trained dancer, possess the ability to act and of course, have that elusive, alluring Crazy charisma.

spectacle désirs

spectacle désirs

“Normally,” explains Fasty Wizz, “when you arrive you have approximately two months of formation to be on stage as a Crazy girl, to understand how to move. It takes about a year to feel like you’re really in.”

The girls are even given their own stage name, based on their personality and characteristics. Mika Do, for example was named for her Vietnamese origin and the fact that she’s “utterly munchable… like the cookie.”

Stage Director Svetlana Konstantinova explains the process for crafting the Crazy. “The girls, when they come to the Crazy Horse, we transform them completely. We make them believe that they are the most beautiful. The objective is to take the girls – who all come from different cultures – to educate them in the French style, while keeping her identity. To bring out her personality, culture, the look that makes her so different – those things we really value.”

Then, of course, there’s the style of dance, which breaks many of the classical dance rules.

“Everything works completely the opposite way. In normal dance, they ask you to pull your stomach in, tuck your butt in. At the Crazy Horse, we bend the back – to bring the butt up and create an arch, it’s a very special way. Your legs aren’t straight, they’re always diagonal and always with a heel. Everything is closed, because of the nudity you have to turn your body profile, which also makes it take the light better” says Svetlana.

Oh yes, there’s a lot of nudity. However, with the girls clever movements and some incredible lighting and projections, you actually see very little. While it is erotic, obviously, that’s not the feeling that leaves the biggest impression. It’s more of an appreciation for the female body, its power and beauty.

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“We have lots of groups of girls come to see the show, because in France it’s an institution” says Fasty Wizz. “It’s different from the other shows you can find in the world, it’s like they know the light and the body, how to put them together to make it really beautiful.”

Svetlana agrees. She says “people often hesitate, because they fear that it’s a nude show. Yes, it is, but it has nothing to do with that actually. It’s all about the woman, the light, and the art. It’s only two things that exist: the woman’s body and personality, and the lighting which dresses her up and transforms her.”

“It’s funny because it’s really true [that it’s a show for women]. More and more we have women coming to Crazy Horse. I think they come to learn how to walk, how to dress up and how to undress as well.”

After my interviews, we’re settled into a plush booth with a bottle of Crazy champagne, where we begin the show. It’s hard to put into words just how magical it is. While we saw Totally Crazy, it’s a show which shares many numbers with the touring show, Forever Crazy. In addition to God Save Our Bareskin, which has been the opening act since 1989, you’ll enjoy Upside Down, But… I Am A Good Girl, Rougir de Désire (which you’ll recognise from Beyoncé’s Partition video, filmed at Crazy Horse Paris) and many more.

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Crazy Horse Paris is regularly frequented by celebrities including Gerard Butler, Rihanna, Cara Delevigne, and more. Having collaborated with designers like Christian Louboutin and Chantal Thomass, it also attracts fashion royalty.

While we didn’t spot any celebs on our visit, I certainly didn’t feel like I missed out. Honestly, it was so captivating that there were times I forgot to breathe. I left Crazy Horse feeling even more in love with Paris, counting down the days until Forever Crazy lands in Canberra.

the essentials

What: Forever Crazy by Crazy Horse Paris
Where: Canberra Theatre Centre
When: Wednesday 4 October – Saturday 7 October
Duration: 90 minutes
Tickets $79 – $120
Bookings: canberratheatrecentre.com.au/show/crazy-horse-paris-presents-forever-crazy

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Ashleigh Went

Ashleigh Went has a passion for all things health and wellness. She’s currently furthering her studies in nutrition, but also has a Bachelor of Communication and is a qualified fitness instructor with over five years experience working in a gym. Among other things, she’s a lover of great food, coffee and fashion. She can usually be found shopping for activewear, in the gym or updating her Instagram @wentworthavenue More about the Author