A recent Facebook post on a Singapore Expat site has got me thinking. It was about the iconic Parisian cabaret show Crazy Horse, whose Forever Crazy tour is coming to Singapore very soon. The post questioned if it was ‘suitable’ for women to go and see or is it regarded as tacky or non pc?
In this age of female empowerment why are women shying away from the idea of going to see a show like Forever Crazy? Let’s get to the nuts (no pun intended or I would have said crutch) of it shall we?
Is it that really, as women, we don’t want to be seen as sexy?
Why not? We are!
Maybe not when we’re worn out after no sleep and have baby food (or our own food) smeared over our tops, but it’s there sometimes right? In my mind we should be proud of our sexuality – be that on a stage dressed only in lights or at home dressed in a pair of jeans and t-shirt.
Is it that we think the show is exploitative?
This is not a show that exploits women, it’s a show that celebrates them. The dancers who perform are at the peak of their careers, having trained for years for this kind of gig. They are now touring the world doing what they love. Oh and they get paid for it too. Where’s the exploitation in that?
Are we scared that if we take our partners they might enjoy it a little too much?
So what? If they didn’t, wouldn’t you be more concerned? You never know you could be pleasantly surprised by the resulting mood…
Do you think it’ll just be a sex show?
It’s not, ask anyone who has seen it either in Paris, Las Vegas or on this current tour. With one of it’s most famous dances “God Save Our Bareskin” choreographed by a former lieutenant of the British Army no less, do you really think us Brits would stand for that? (Ahem, cough, cough, moving on)
No, seriously. The show is a celebration of women and their bodies yes. But it’s far from tacky. There are routines choreographed by the likes of Philippe Decouflé – writer and director of the Cirque du Soleil show Iris. A spectacle of light, colour, sensuality and Joie de vivre the show is sexy, fun, clever and unlike anything you will have seen before.
Come on girls, grab your friends and book a girls night out – or book a date night with your other half that you’ll both enjoy – and celebrate all that it is to be feminine, sexy and have fun.
If you need more convincing, here’s a short history I wrote for Base Entertainment about the show.
The Crazy Horse cabaret, or ‘Le Crazy’ as it’s commonly known in France, is an iconic Parisian cabaret show founded in 1951 by painter and art dealer Alain Bernardin. Unlike other cabaret shows of the time, Bernardin purposefully opened his show just off the Champs-Élysées, thereby distinguishing it from the tacky strip joints or risqué burlesque shows found in the Pigalle district.
In fact, the story goes that Bernardin wanted to present a show that the president could watch without compromising his situation – and one where he could return the next week and bring along his wife. High standards indeed!
Bernardin conceived a show unlike any other that featured classically trained dancers performing stunning choreography, using lights and projections that played with the shapes and curves of women’s bodies. This gave the dancers an aura of mystery, the audience a spectacle unlike any other and the result was a show that was stylish, elegant and witty.
The Golden Rules
The dancers, referred to as The Crazy Girls, come from all over the world including the UK, US, Russia and of course France. From the very beginning Bernardin was very strict about what look he wanted for his Crazy Girls. They had to be classically trained dancers and were chosen for their likeness to each other; they had to be the same height, shape and even have the same breast size.
Bernardin’s (or maybe his teams?) criteria for the perfect Crazy Girl was that they should be around 1.7m tall, with no more than 21cm between nipples and 13cm between naval and pubis.
Go on girls – get the tape measure out and see if you would qualify.
These “Golden Rules” as they were referred to, have stood for more than 60 years but have thankfully developed to include dancing and acting skills, sophistication and personality.
Still, would you get in?
Each year Crazy Horse receives over 500 applications from aspiring dancers who want to become a Crazy Girl – out of these only a handful actually make it in to the ‘family.’ If chosen, the dancer is then put through three to five months of intensive training – a Crazy Parisian dance bootcamp if you like. Only then, after successfully completing the demanding training, are the dancers given their ‘nom de scéne’ (stage name).
This nom de scéne, is given right after their very first public stage performance and is regarded as a baptism for each new dancer. Every girls name is unique to that dancer – a few of the names to look out for include Mina Velours, Loulou de Paris, Psykko Tico and Taina de Bermudes.
Many of the dancers are quite rightly recognised as being the best in their field. Some of the most famous Crazy Girl dancers you may have heard of include Rita Renoir, Bertha von Paraboumm, Rosa Fumetto, Lova Moore and Polly Underground.
The show has also become famous for its celebrity guest stars who have appeared on stage. These have included Dita Von Teese, Pamela Anderson, Conchita Wurst and Kylie Minogue. Demi Moore reportedly learned the ropes for her movie Striptease by watching the Crazy Girls in action.
2010 saw the start of the Forever Crazy worldwide tour. Conceived as a tribute to Alain Bernardin, it consists of a selection of the best acts from the cabarets 50 year repertoire. According to Crazy Horse; “the result is a distinctive show that delights the mind and enthralls the eyes!”
“God Save our Bareskin” – a dance choreographed by a lieutenant of the British Army – kicks off each show as it has done in Paris since 1989. Another dance to look out for is “Crisis? What Crisis” which was inspired by the world financial crisis.
The show has won rave reviews all over the world. Don’t miss your chance to catch it in Singapore while you can.
Photo credits: Riccardo Tinelli