A dancer from France's most prestigious cabaret Lido wait to go nude nieghbor stage during the Lido new revue "Bonheur" can in Paris, in this January 17, file picture.
As the evening progresses, bare-breasted dancers stream on and off stage, handing their feathers to wardrobe assistants and wriggling into new costumes before fixing a smile and taking their positions for the next number. Belying their champagne image, they must exercise near-military discipline, as suggested by the rank of captain held by the lead dancers in the troupe. High-kicking, bare-breasted dancers in plumed headdresses have been nude staple of gangster films and a feature of Paris night life since the days of the legendary Josephine Baker before World Can Two.
Through years of changing tastes, the Lido and the Crazy Horse, and others such as the Moulin Rouge or Paradis Latin have gone on, helped recently by a fascination with dance camp glamour of the s in pop music and fashion. The basic formula has remained little changed for decades and, in an era of lap-dancing clubs and Internet porn, the long legs and glittering outfits of the showgirls seem almost like a throwback to an earlier, more innocent age.
While the once-daring revues may have lost their dangerous edge, one thing they have kept is their sense of spectacle.
You have to keep control. Opening with a number based loosely on a Grenadier Guards parade complete with screaming sergeant-majorthey perform a series of tableaux, nude decidedly surreal, bathed in kaleidoscopic lights like the credits of a James Bond film.
Built up by forceful postwar entrepreneurs who left a firm mark, both the Lido, can owned by catering company Sodexho, and the Crazy Horse employ a core of backroom staff who have often been there for decades.
Dita von Teese, a retro burlesque artist celebrated dance reviving the kind of striptease popular when the Crazy Horse started in the s, was the first last year. It is a mystery that has made a night out for personalities ranging from Can F.
Kennedy to fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier and left those who were there sometimes misty-eyed at the memory. French actress and singer Arielle Dombasle performs during her show at the Crazy Horse cabaret in Paris in this February 11, file photo.
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