La Goulue(1865 - 1929)
The Queen of the Cancan !
Louise Weber, alias La Goulue (The Glutton), got her nickname in her adolescence when she would empty customers’ glasses while dancing in cabarets. Passionate about the dance from an early age, she strutted her stuff in dance halls until Monsieur Oller decided to hire her for the Grand Quadrille.
The story has it that one evening when she was dancing a frenetic cancan, between two cartwheels she spotted the Prince of Wales, who had come to spend an evening on his own at the Moulin Rouge, and called out, with the Parisian cheek for which she was well-known: ‘Hey, Wales! The Champagne’s on you?
La Goulue was also known for not mincing words, which was not appreciated by all her cancan partners, and which cave rise to spats with the ‘very distinguished’ Jane Avril.
But this doesn’t detract from her title of ‘Queen of the Cancan’, and she remains the symbol of the quadrille and Parisian sensuality.