Friday, December 3, 2010
Paris Inspired Art- Monotypes Part 2
Moulin Rouge, which means Red Mill, is a cabaret built in 1889 by Joseph Oller, who also owned the Paris Olympia. Close to Montmartre in the Paris red-light district of Pigalle on Boulevard de Clichy in the 18th arrondissement, it is marked by the red windmill on its roof.
The Moulin Rouge is best known as the spiritual birthplace of the modern form of the can-can dance. Originally introduced as a seductive dance by the courtesans who operated from the site, the can-can dance revue evolved into a form of entertainment of its own and led to the introduction of cabarets across Europe. The modern can-can was born as dancers (many of them failed ballet dancers with exceptional skill) were introduced to entertain the guests. The can-can that we recognise today comes directly from this period and, as the vulgarity of the dance lessened, it became renowned for its athletic and acrobatic tricks.
The Moulin Rouge lost much of its former reputation as a 'high-class brothel' and it soon became fashionable for French society to visit and see the spectacular cabarets, which have included a can-can ever since. The dance is recognizable for the long skirts with heavily frilled undergarments that the dancers wear, high kicks, hops in a circle whilst holding the other leg in the air, splits, cartwheels and other acrobatic tricks, normally accompanied by squeals and shrieks. Whilst the dance became less crude, the choreography has always tended to be a little risqué and somewhat provocative.
Today the Moulin Rouge is a tourist destination, offering musical dance entertainment for visitors from around the world. Much of the romance of turn-of-the-century France is still present in the club's decor.
Images: Top: Moulin Rouge 1, monotype;and Bottom: Moulin Rouge 2, monotype capture the joy, excitement and provocativeness of the Moulin Rouge as well as the choreography and maybe even a hint of the windmill.