Behind the topless show that captivates the Parisian night
4 mins read

Behind the topless show that captivates the Parisian night

Located in the red light district of Pigalle, on Avenue Clichy, near Monmartre hill, Moulin Rouge – which means red windmill in French, is Joseph Oller and Charles Zidler’s 1889 theater.

The red windmill of Paris has become an endless topic in painting, music, and movies… or whenever mentioning the French Cancan high-kick dance, people immediately think of this theater.

The truth about the topless show that took over the Parisian night

The show’s seats are always full at Moulin Rouge.

The dance that made Moulin famous is performed every night with a dance troupe of 80 artists and 60 hot dancers.

As a teenager, this Scottish girl had never heard of the Moulin Rouge until her mother Sarah told her that the theater was recruiting dancers in Edinburgh.

Graduating from dance school at the age of 19, Sarah applied for a dancer position at Moulin Rouge and was accepted to perform the legendary French Cancan dance.

`It’s one of the most labor-intensive dances, usually beginners and young girls perform this performance. I’m happy because after six months, I don’t have to dance that dance anymore,` Sarah commented.

Behind the topless show that captivates the Parisian night

From French Cancan, the girls will level up to become nude dancers – dancing topless.

After many months of working at Moulin Rouge, most dancers easily get used to the topless performances, because it is gentler than the continuous high leg kicks in French Cancan’s two shows each night.

Sarah recalled the difficult moment: `I called my parents in tears. I said: ‘Mom, they just asked me to do a solo and to be topless, I can’t…’.

Sarah’s father said that he and her mother will always be proud of their daughter no matter what happens.

Behind the topless show that captivates the Parisian night

At Moulin, girls need to build prestige to become topless dancers.

But behind the glory of the stage, the lives of Moulin Rouge dancers are not sparkling.

She and her colleagues had to complete two shows per night, working a total of six nights per week.

Sarah said: `If I go to the gym, I will lose weight and my superiors will be angry about it. They are very careful with their employees. If you lose weight, they will talk privately and remind you to eat well.`

One of the Moulin Rouge’s most beloved performances is the Féerie (Fairies), which has been performed weekly for 15 years.

Behind the topless show that captivates the Parisian night

Sarah in real life.

`For me, after replacing two main dancer positions, I have more skills. Even main dancers need to memorize many other moves to replace their colleagues when needed,` Sarah explained.

Contrary to Sarah, her husband is also one of the three main dancers of the Moulin Rouge, and has begun to think about changing his career.

She said: `I’ve gone as far as I can at the Moulin. I’ve fulfilled my dream of becoming a principal dancer. I want to get to the next chapter of my life to see what I can do for the future, but for now I’m happy.`

Unlike many of her colleagues who plan to become a dance teacher after quitting their jobs, Sarah thinks she will `hang up` her dancing shoes forever and leave Paris with her husband to return to Scotland.

Moulin Rouge is located at 82, Avenue Clichy, Paris, France.

Opening hours: Show Féerie is performed twice, at 9pm and 11pm every night.

Ticket prices start from 87 euros, children from 6 years old can watch.

Moulin Rouge prohibits taking photos, filming or recording performances, stages or auditoriums.

Visitors will not be allowed entry if wearing shorts, clothes and sneakers.

The show serves food and drinks and is non-smoking.

Pham Huyen

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