CRAZY HORSE: TAÏNA DE BERMUDES Crazy for you

Crazy Horse Paris is one of the world’s most esteemed cabaret destinations, with a rich 65 year history of entertaining over 15 million patrons in the luxurious theatre they call home. Now it’s Australia’s turn to revel in their passion and beauty as the company grace us with an inaugural tour of the much-lauded Forever Crazy. NATALIE GILES was excited to talk to one of the dancers, Taïna De Bermudes, ahead of their appearance at Crown Theatre from September 6 to September 23.

Christian Louboutin once described Crazy Horse as “a monument to Paris”. Over the years, they have collaborated with the likes of Karl Lagerfeld, David Lynch, Jean Paul Gaultier, Paco Rabanne, Miuccia Prada, and many more. Famous guests include Elvis Presley, Madonna, John F. Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Beyonce, and Steven Spielberg. It’s an impressive resume, and Crazy Horse promises nothing less than a sensual, sexy spectacular; a celebration of all things feminine.

Can you describe Crazy Horse for the rare few who are completely uninitiated?

That’s hard! (laughs) It’s difficult to describe because it’s a mix of many genres – burlesque, cabaret, classical dance, it’s got a bit of everything. I would describe it as a modern, sexy, sophisticated cabaret celebrating women and the female form.

And for anyone who might hold the misconception that it’s a strip show… ?

I’d say they know nothing about Crazy Horse! It’s not that at all. For a start, we’re all classically trained dancers. We have all started with ballet as a base, then branched off into our preferred forms of dance over the years, and continue to train as well as rehearsals each week. There are two numbers that are strips, but there’s just so much more to it. It’s art. It’s for women to look and feel beautiful, and it’s about empowering women. It’s so much more than just taking your clothes off. In fact, we don’t even feel like we’re doing that when we’re onstage. We never feel like we’re naked – we don’t feel exposed, and it feels so normal to us, and I think that comfort in our own skins translates to the audience.

Our bodies are treated as works of art, and the lights are projected onto our bodies as if they were a canvas. We make use of some amazing lighting technology, and even though we might be naked, you can’t really see… it’s all about suggestion. We’re in control of what we show, which is another reason why it’s so empowering. I had a friend who came to a show and she said that she thought she would feel a pang of jealousy about seeing beautiful naked bodies, but she didn’t. She said that all she wanted was to be up on stage with me, sharing in that moment. And that means so much to me, because that’s my personal aim – to make women be proud of their bodies and to feel beautiful and comfortable in them.

Can you tell us what makes Crazy Horse such an iconic cabaret show?

The show is really different from other cabarets. In Paris we have the Moulin Rouge, we have Lido, we have Paradis Latin, but this one really stands out because it’s small – others have 70 or 80 girls dancing at any one time, huge stages in massive theatres, with so many people, but Crazy Horse Paris is tiny. We try to recreate that intimate atmosphere on tour. The stage is small and intimate, with 10 or 11 girls dancing per night, and it feels really special for the audience.

Of course we have the links with Louboutin and various couture and fashion designers who create our costumes, so it’s really more of a luxury styled show. That’s part of what drew me to it in the first place.

The costumes are a really big part of the show. What makes them such a highlight?

We have a partnership with Louboutin so most of our shoes in the show are Louboutin shoes. I’m not going to lie, they’re not particularly comfortable to dance in, but they look amazing! We also have a lot of partnerships with other Parisian designers, such as Chantal Thomass. The costumes are sometimes quite minimal but always very sexy, and they always aim to highlight all the best parts of a woman’s body. The costumes are all hand made, and each one is made for a specific girl to suit her body. It’s really quite special and just adds to the uniqueness of the show. They take a lot of care with everything, right down to the soles of the shoes all being cleaned before each show.

That attention to detail really is part of the allure of Crazy Horse, isn’t it?

Yes, and it’s really great to work within that, especially as dancers are such disciplined people. It’s nice to work in an environment where it’s so structured, and every single thing is considered important. Every movement counts, from the fingertips to the ends of your toes, every look, every glance, and every single thing that you wear is so vital to the show. If there’s even so much as one diamond missing from a costume, it won’t go on stage. It may not be noticed by the audience, but we won’t deliver anything less than the best. Hair and makeup is immaculate, nail varnish is perfect, everything is taken into account, and it’s so great to work with that kind of discipline.

How does the tour experience differ from what audiences experience at the club in Paris?

In Paris, it’s the true home of Crazy Horse, so you feel the real soul of the place, lots of atmosphere, but having said that, the tour is such an incredible experience. The show is a bit different, in that it’s been adapted for an international audience. It’s a bit more fun, a bit lighter and more tongue in cheek, where Paris is a bit more sultry, and… Parisian I guess (laughs). We have a ball doing it.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your dance background? Introduce Perth to Taina de Bermudes.

I’m from London and I have a musical theatre background, but I went to see the Crazy Horse show in Paris while I was on holiday there at about 18 years old, and from that moment on I just wanted to do this show. I auditioned about six years ago and I was accepted, so since 2011 I’ve been with Crazy Horse, either working in Paris or on tour, but my permanent base is Paris. We’ve been traveling around the world doing the show, but it’s not a nonstop, year-round tour, so when we have time out I go back to London and visit people and so on. It was a dream for me to do the show, so the day I was accepted it was a real accomplishment.

How would you define sexiness and what tips would you give other women for adding confidence and sassiness to their everyday lives?

It’s easier said than done, but confidence is the key. It’s all in the attitude. Confidence is a skill, and it takes practice. Know yourself, and know your worth. A confident woman is sexy. A woman who knows herself and her beliefs, has conviction in them, and is not shy to express them. A woman who is proud of herself, and what she is achieving, that really shines through. That’s sexy.

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