Seeking a Parisian cabaret to thrill you for an evening, and stay with you for life? Fashionistas, art lovers and burlesque fans will love the crazy horse, which promises an evening of entertainment that’s glamorous, intimate, sassy and fun. By Ruby Boukabou and Ella Legg
Created in 1951 by avant-garde artist Alain Bernardin to offer sensual yet classy shows that interlaced fashion, art, and dance, The Crazy Horse drew a salubrious crowd. Today, while evolved, these characteristics remain.
After arriving at an entrance lit by large red lips, visitors descend into a cosy venue dressed in disco balls, mirrors and red velvet. Tables are set with mood lighting and bottles of champagne. Guests sip and relax while a master of ceremonies gets the crowd in the mood.
A dancer pops her head out of the curtain and dramatically announces the show Crazy Horse …
“The Crazy Horse is totally unique,” says General Manager, Creation & Development, Andrée Deissenberg, who, since 2006, has brought her savoir faire from Cirque du Soleil to create an immersive experience. “What we’re doing is also illusion and magic...the audience, no matter what age, becomes enthralled.”
TotallyCrazy (photo © Sølve Sundsbø)
A fusion of fashion, choreography and visual effects at Crazy Horse
The current show, ‘Totally Crazy’, is a succession of the cabaret’s iconic sensual and playful acts with new twists, interspersed with variety performers.
“The fashionistas go crazy about the precision, the attention to detail, the height of the heel,” says Deissenberg. “We create stunning visual effects, with the dancers’ bodies dressed by lighting.”
Attitude is everything (photo © Riccardo Tinelli)
An intimate evening at Crazy Horse Paris
There are only 230 audience seats at the Crazy Horse. The stage measures a mere two metres high and six metres long. “You can see the colours of the dancers’ eyes. A performer may even interact with you,” she adds.
Fabuleux Crazy - RiccardoTinelli
Rigour Behind the scenes at Crazy Horse Paris
Before becoming a ‘Crazy Girl’ and being christened ‘Etta d’Amour’ on her debut performance, Australian dancer Tenille Ebony had to endure a couple of months’ rigorous training. It was a big change from her earlier ballet, jazz and hip hop days on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
“There’s a whole repertoire and technique, down to the way you hold yourself,” she says. “It was a significant change. Learning to arch my back, for example. It’s important, as we need to look identical onstage to achieve the strong visual effects.”
“With two shows a night, three shows on Saturday nights, 24 days a month, I’ve become nocturnal.”
Diverse offstage, in unison onstage
To be cast, girls must be similar in shape and size, and meet strict measurements, primarily for onstage effects and the practicality of costumes. Their backgrounds, origins and dance training are very different, however.
“While we are all quite different offstage, when we are onstage, because of our training, body postures and lighting, we are virtually identical.”
This is where visual effects come into their own, from the opening act ‘God save our bare skin’ where dancers are lined up as British Royal Guards wearing almost nothing, apart from their hats and marching in unison.
Audience members should look out for ‘Lay Laser Lay’, an iconic solo which takes place on a rotating wheel that d’Amour has performed on many occasions.
The solo featured in Beyoncé’s film clip Partition, filmed at Crazy Horse Paris.
“During the solos you are your own artist with all eyes on you. It’s quite a feeling!”
Crazy Horse Paris