The Crazy Horse: Only good Girls

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Reviewed on 09/15/2010 | No Reviews

Of all the Parisian Cabarets the Crazy Horse is definitely the artiest one. Imagine the aesthetics of Helmut Newton’s Big Nudes transposed into moving pictures: perfect female bodies with very long legs in very high heels and all of them in various states of undress. You get the picture?

The funny thing is: all the girls exactly the same, to the point that you might think they’re made of something other than human flesh. Actually, only dancers with absolutely identical measurements are chosen for the show at the Crazy Horse. That’s why the nipples and hips are all at the same height. And despite the crazy names of the girls like Diva Novita and Zula Zazou, they all look a bit like their own doubles, like genetically modified organisms.

I have to admit, the first time I went to the Crazy Horse, I was really shocked. Not by the nudes! Naked girls are everywhere nowadays. No, I was more surprised by the fact that the girls’  job was a bit like working in a factory:  they had to clock in when they arrived for work. They started early and finished very late. Plus, they had to get on scales once a week. And all hell broke loose if they put any weight on.

The art of nude? Clean and clinical

That was just a few years after Alan Bernardin, the founder of the Crazy Horse, died. (He actually committed suicide, must have been quite depressing for him to be surrounded by so much beauty ll the time). He was the one who invented l’art du nu, the art of nude, as he used to put it. It’s actually a very clean, kind of arty not to say clinical approach to eroticism.

Bernardin founded the Crazy Horse in 1951 and as the years went by his concept was getting a little out of date. But things changed completely in 2004 with the arrival of Andrée Deissenberg as the new general director. Deissenberg, who had spent twelve years with the Cirque du Soleil, brought a wind of change into the theatre and is attracting younger, more diverse audiences.

© Antoine Poupe

The latest show called Desire was created in cooperation with choreographer and dancer Philippe Decouflé who worked on the opening and closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Albertville. He plays with shadows, silhouettes and colours and gives the idea of the arty nude a new twist.

But even more important for the revival of the Crazy Horse is the idea of bringing in “exceptional women” as guest stars, women who do not necessarily make a habit showing their bodies on stage. And le tout Paris shows up whenever a new guest star is having her premiere. After Dita von Teese, Arielle Dombasle and even Pamela Anderson it’s now the turn of Clotilde, Princess of Venice and Piedmont, actress and wife of Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia, better known under her stage and civil name Clotilde Courau. But it’s definitely not just for her that you must experience the Crazy Horse.

Le Crazy Horse
12, Avenue George V
75008 Paris
+33(0)1 47 23 32 32
Métro: Alma Marceau or  George V – Franklin D. Roosevelt 
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