Because they can-can: The dancers doing it for high kicks at the Moulin Rouge
Scottish dancers are bringing a certain je ne sais quoi to the world-famous Moulin Rouge.
Every night dancers Sarah Tandy, Michaela Rondelli and Lucy Monaghan take to the stage dressed in feathers, frills and sequins. But while they may seem to have glamorous jobs, in reality, working at the legendary Paris cabaret is a tough gig.
The Moulin Rouge's ballet mistress Janet Pharaoh travels the globe looking for "exceptional" dancers, as she explains on Moulin Rouge Ecosse.
"First of all they have to be a really good all-round dancer with good technique. Then we want the dancers to be tall — we need them to have a good figure for the costumes — and then we also want them to have a lot of personality. So [we're] looking for this all-round package that’s really quite rare."
"It's very hard, but for those who do make it, this is a great job!"
The dancers work hard; they perform two shows every night and each one can incorporate up to 12 costume changes.
The Moulin Rouge is known for routines in which dancers are occasionally topless and some of these costumes leave little to the imagination. But Michaela Rondelli has no problem with performing partially nude.
"It's not vulgar in any way," she says. "It's really empowering. I love doing it. I can see some people wouldn't, but we're all strong, confident women at work so we all really enjoy it."
"Getting paid to perform on the stage every night is the best thing ever."
Lucy Monaghan shares her friend's love of the Moulin Rouge. She decided aged 10 that she wanted to be a professional dancer and now, at the height of her career, she adores performing in Paris.
"I feel very lucky to have my job," says Lucy. "Everybody in the dance world knows about the Moulin Rouge and would really love a job there."
Sarah Tandy is one of just three principal dancers at the famous venue. Following her dreams meant she had to leave the family home at 16 to train professionally, but Sarah's ambition has taken her right where she wants to be.
"I do get very homesick," she admits. "But it's been worth it."
All three Scots recently took part in celebrations marking the Moulin Rouge's 130th birthday, and Lucy pinpoints the key to its longevity:
"It’s a combination of the history in the building [and] also the energy that we have to perform on stage. It's something that all of us have a passion for. We're all really passionate to be here."