So I must say living in Paris has been pretty incredible so far, it is absolutely stunning and there is so much to look at and do, but it has also been a slight culture shock. Luckily I am used to living overseas since London, but the language barrier has been a bit challenging and the people are very different. I have been speaking French as much as I possibly can, but they speak so fast it is hard to understand! I am living in the apartment that is attached to the top of Moulin Rouge, which is AWESOME because tourists wave at us if we open the windows, we are royalty here! I am sharing this place with three other new dancers for three months before we start finding our own places. This week I have mainly been staying around Moulin and the Montmartre area, as it is very tense across Paris because of the election happening today. The recent shooting was a bit scary but we are all very safe and we stick together and security is huge around Moulin. It is great living here, we only have to walk downstairs to go to rehearsals!
Rehearsals are SO different to anything I have done before. Our first day we rehearsed on stage straight away, mainly doing can can technique. We aren’t allowed to kick our legs above 90˚ yet, as it is so intense on the hamstrings we have to be able to move the next day in rehearsals. We have three dance captains, Amanda being the main one and she is very intense and particular and some days it can be quite challenging, but as this is such a prestigious company we all work very hard and don’t let it affect us. The other two dance captains are both French and still both perform in the show. They make us work hard and are so lovely and make us feel comfortable in the rehearsals. Erik is one of the captains as well, and he did all the choreography in the audition. He works mainly with the boys, but we all do a stretch/ballet class with him before we start rehearsals. We have learnt quite a lot over the space of a week and half, because we are all replacing people in the show, we have to focus and learn everything as quickly as possible and retain every correction and apply it straight away. We have learnt the opening number of the show called “Paris Dance” and because I am the third shortest dancer in the company I am on the back platform part of the stage and then after we rip our pants off (it is a very cheesy dance) I run to the top of the staircase and dance on that! We have also learnt Féerie (the prologue as it’s the title of the show), which we have huge red showgirl costumes on that are very heavy but the dance is beautiful and it looks so effective on stage. We have to lip synch to the French music, which has been a bit challenging but feels awesome when we rehearse it. In the second act The Pirates, which is about Pirates that end up in Indonesia I am in two dances, one where we hold little knives and it is very precise and then the finale routine with huge feather costumes on that I am also on the staircase for. That act is my favourite because that’s when the snake tank rises from the bottom of the stage and the audience freak out. In the third act, Au Cirque, I am in Majorettes and we are kind of like toy soldiers and it is such a fun dance to do, but so hard at the same time because we get grilled if we are out of line. The last act “The Moulin Rouge from 1900 to…” goes through the ages of Moulin, including a big intro with a bit of an insight as to how the can can came about and then the music yells “OUI CAN CAN! OUI CAN CAN!” and we run on stage and die for about ten minutes. Can can is so fast and I have never done so many cartwheels, handstands and jump splits in my life! It is so great though because the audience lose it and clap along so much and it is what everyone comes to see! The rest of that act goes through different eras and the finale is the future, where we wear huge pink light up costumes that are worth 11 000 euros per costume! They are incredible. I am dancing on a platform above the stage which is a bit nerve wracking and then I have to walk down the staircase really fast in time with the music in heels. Everything is a challenge, but it is all so much fun and so exciting (got my first pay slip the other day, best feeling ever!), I feel privileged to be a part of such an amazing company and soon I will be performing for approx. 2300 people twice a night, 6 nights a week. All the new girls are so lovely, I have already made friends for life! It has been an incredible experience so far, I can’t wait to tell you all about how the show goes.
I miss you all a lot and I hope everyone is doing well.
Without my training at Charlesworth I wouldn’t be living out my dreams like I am today so thank you!
Lot’s of love,