24 hours in the life of a Moulin Rouge artist

april 2023

The Moulin Rouge dancers come from all over the world and have a well-structured daily routine. With rehearsals, preparations and shows on the programme, discover a typical day for an artist from the famous Parisian cabaret!

1pm: Rehearsal time

The Moulin Rouge artists rehearse several times a month so that audiences can continue to be dazzled by the Féerie Revue show every evening. Whether in the rehearsal room or on the cabaret stage, in sportswear or in costumes, the artists are tasked with creating magic.

© Philippe Wojazer

5.30pm: Keeping up strength before the shows

With their unique pace of life, the artists’ preparation begins with their diet! The 80 artists who perform on the Moulin Rouge stage are used to eating their evening meal at around 5.30pm. It’s the most important meal of the day for our artists because it gives them all the energy they need for two performances – especially when this involves two renditions of the French Cancan every evening!

7.30pm: Arrival at the Moulin Rouge

After a day of rehearsals, the moment has come for the artists to get ready, so they head to the dressing rooms via the stage door. On the way to the dressing rooms, they run into musicians and singers entering the stage to invite dinner guests onto the dance floor. This is also where feather and rhinestone-adorned costumes are waiting in the wings to be donned. As the minutes tick by, a buzz of excitement takes over backstage…

7.45pm: Time for make-up

In the dressing rooms, everyone is busy with hair and make-up. The Moulin Rouge artists apply their own stage make-up every evening. Dancers put on their lipstick and false eyelashes, the only requirements at the Moulin Rouge. For the rest of their make-up, the famous cabaret’s artists can give free rein to their imagination and show their personality and style through both eyeshadow and eyeliner.

Ligne dégradé
 ©Philippe Wojazer
 ©Philippe Wojazer

8.15pm: Pre-show warm-up

When their make-up is done, it’s time for the warm-up! The Moulin Rouge artists make their way to the rehearsal room for a group warm-up session to music.

After the warm-up, some of the dancers focus on strengthening their muscles, while others stretch or take part in an improvised rehearsal of one of the show choreographies.

© Philippe Wojazer

8.45pm: Effervescence back-stage

15 minutes before the Féerie Revue show, it’s time to put on the first costume of the show.

Over in the hall, the audience is mesmerised by the venue’s effervescent atmosphere and songs from around the world played by the on-stage orchestra… Guests are invited to take to the dancefloor – the Moulin Rouge Ball certainly lives up to its name! Its Belle Epoque décor is bathed in a magic and melancholic glow from the famous red lamps. Now and then you can hear the sound of popping champagne corks and clinking glasses, promising the audience a celebratory evening ahead! Everything has come together to make this an unforgettable experience!

Ligne dégradé
© Sandie Bertrand
© Sandie Bertrand

9pm: First show

The lights go out, a thrill of excitement runs through the audience as the curtain lifts, and the artists take the stage – the moment everyone has been waiting for!

Backstage, the dressers rush to help artists into the 1,000 costumes from the four-scene Revue show in an incredible intermingling of feathers, sequins and rhinestones, just like in the great Revue shows of Mistinguett’s Music-Hall. The French cabaret teams have become masters in the art of organisation so that costume changes are as efficient as possible. From footwear to hairstyles and jewellery, each artist changes costume 10 to 14 times over the course of a single show!

© Sandie Bertrand

10.30pm: An energetic French Cancan

After an hour and a half of total enchantment and bedazzlement, a joyful ruckus takes over the stage with the show-stopping French Cancan! Formerly called the Quadrille Naturaliste, Paris went crazy for La Goulue’s favourite dance in the early 20th century… And 133 years later, audience members still get to see the magic come alive before their very eyes! A true symbol of France and French culture, the audience is carried away by seven minutes filled with energy, shrieking and audacity! Dressed in their frilly skirts, the dancers perform acrobatics and historical figures from this revolutionary dance.

© Chris Barmat

10.45pm: End of the first show

The first show of the evening draws to a close. The Moulin Rouge artists wave the audience goodbye before leaving the stage to a standing ovation. And yet the evening has only just begun! A snack and a few stretches later, then it’s time to prepare for the second performance.

© Philippe Wojazer

11.30pm: Second show

For the second time this evening, the curtain rises on the 60 artists who form the troupe. For an hour and forty-five minutes, they summon up all the energy they can muster to offer the 850-strong global audience an enchanting interlude in this famous hall at the foot of Montmartre hill!

© Philippe Wojazer

1.15am: End of the performances

The curtain closes on the second Féerie performance with a flurry of feathers and sequins! The audience members make their way out of the cabaret hall with rhinestones sparkling in their eyes as they hum tunes from the Revue show grand finale in the streets of Paris… This is Féerie!

© Philippe Wojazer

The party is over. Behind the curtain all the teams say their goodbyes and go their separate ways, taking time out to rest before they do it all again tomorrow.

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