The dancers of the Moulin Rouge: artists made to amaze you!

september 2023

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spectacle féerie moulin rouge paris
© Bertrand Royer

The Moulin Rouge is famous for the quality of its shows and the height of its artistic standards. The talent and passion of its dancers contribute to the success and fame of the Parisian cabaret. So, how are they selected? What is their daily routine and what do their days involve? Step inside the dressing rooms at the Moulin Rouge and meet its incredible dancers.

How are the Moulin Rouge dancers selected?

To join the troupe at the famous Montmartre cabaret, artists must have perfect mastery of classical dance, hip-hop, jazz and contemporary dance styles. They must also be technically skilled and be able to maintain a high level of performance throughout the shows.

Artists selected to join the Moulin Rouge troupe undergo a rigorous and competitive selection process. This is why the cabaret regularly holds auditions in Paris to root out new talents who will join this big family. Candidates come from all over France, and even from all over the world. They are assessed on their technique, style, stage presence, and ability to dance in often heavy and extravagant costumes. 

© Le Moulin Rouge®

What is the daily routine of the Moulin Rouge dancers?

The daily routine of dancers from the Moulin Rouge is similar to that of top athletes. They must be in top physical and mental condition, as their days are demanding and intense. Every day is structured around show preparation, between rehearsals, warm-ups and make-up sessions.

The Doriss Girls, named after famous choreographer Doris Haung, perform several times a week. Each show demands maximum energy and concentration. Whether Revue show lead or chorus dancer, each artist must give the very best of themselves, all year round.

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© Philippe Wojazer

© Jacques Habas

The Moulin Rouge show in Paris: a unique 3 and a half hour show in France

On stage: incredible artistic performances

9pm, the lights dim; the background noise slowly fades away until the hall is completely silent. The Revue show Féerie is about to begin! The artists take to the stage for 3 and half hours of show time. Across 4 scenes, each one more dazzling than the last, the 80-strong troupe leads you into a magical universe, made of sequins, frills and rhinestones. After a first half of 1hr 30 minutes, the Doriss Girls take to the stage in their frilly dresses to delight the audience with a stunning French Cancan. This iconic dance of the Moulin Rouge demands exceptional physical prowess.

The cancan dancers perform their acrobatics in a well-drilled routine. Moves such as pirouettes, high kicks, the splits, the ‘port d’armes’, the cathedral and the military salute are nothing new to them!

© Chris Barmat

And did you know that the Moulin Rouge holds several world records? The Greek solo dancer Adonis Kosmadakis performed the most leg lifts behind his head – 30 in 30 seconds!

The cancan dancers also performed the most French Cancan ‘ronds de jambe’ – 29 in 30 seconds! 

© Sandie Bertrand

After a 45 minute interval, the Revue show Féerie resumes. The Moulin Rouge dancers return to the stage for the second half of the evening. The show ends in a whirlwind of feathers and sequins, leaving the audience utterly bedazzled.

© Sandie Bertrand

Behind the scenes

Backstage at the Moulin Rouge is a place where the cabaret’s unique effervescence and energy reigns supreme. This is where the show prep, dance rehearsals, and costume and set changes take place.

From 7pm, an entire team of professionals is hard at work. Technicians are tweaking the final settings. In the dressing rooms, dressers and costume designers are at their stations: they help each artist put on their outfit and their many accessories.

For the Revue show Féerie alone, more than 1000 bespoke costumes and 500 bespoke pairs of shoes were created for the artists. They change outfits between 10 and 14 times over the course of the night.

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© Stephanie Wells

© Jacques Habas

Which legends have left their mark on Paris and The Moulin Rouge?

Over the years, the Moulin Rouge has welcomed many legends through its doors. Including many women who have marked the history of the Parisian cabaret. La Goulue, Nini Pattes en l’Air, Grille d’Égout as well as Joséphine Baker have made the Moulin Rouge an essential destination on the Parisian nightlife scene. Jane Avril, another famous French Cancan dancer, was a muse of painter Toulouse-Lautrec.

Various singers have also helped to build the renown of the Moulin Rouge, in France and around the world: Mistinguett, Yvette Guilbert, Édith Piaf and Liza Minnelli have all sung in the hall at the famous Montmartre cabaret.

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© Le Moulin Rouge®

© Le Moulin Rouge®

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The Moulin Rouge show in Paris: a unique 3 and a half hour show in France