Arts / Still Le Crazy after all these years

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PARIS comes to Canberra when the greatest of all cabarets, Le Crazy Horse de Paris, appears at the Canberra Theatre with its show “Forever Crazy” in early October.

Known for the subtle sensuality of its shows, Le Crazy Horse combines “aesthetic and visual” tableaux presented by graceful, classically trained dancers, “clad only in textured lighting and projection”.

Well, not precisely, as “CityNews” found when we consulted an expert, former Crazy Horse dancer Jenny Jordan by phone to Paris – that impression of full nudity is a carefully calculated artistic impression.

Jordan, though born in Switzerland of mixed Swiss/Barbados ancestry, was raised in Queensland from the age of five. She’s been in France for 15 years and now lives in Charenton-le-Pont with her French husband and their three-year-old son.  

Since leaving Crazy Horse, where she performed for six years, she’s set up her own practice teaching Pilates and yoga.

Jordan’s is the story of many successful Australian cabaret artists. Trained in dance, she got a job selling ice cream at Movie World on the Gold Coast at age 16, graduating into dancing Wonder Woman and Bugs Bunny before scoring a contract with a four-girl cabaret show in Paris.

Aged 21, she started working at Moulin Rouge, but then, someone took her to see Le Crazy Horse.

“I saw this show and I thought: ‘Wow, I want to feel like a woman’ – I was still just a girl – it was so sensual, the way they moved and expressed themselves… I looked at them and said: ‘I want to be one of them’… I wanted to be regarded in that sensual, beautiful light’.”

The audition, she says, was “quite something, they make you dance in a G-string under a bright light, then they say thank you and put you to one side.” What followed was peculiar to the troupe.

At Crazy Horse, size matters.

“It’s all about the measurements,” she says, describing how her vital statistics were assessed at audition time.

“The aesthetic is different, in Crazy Horse the body has to be the correct shape, size and form… it’s not necessarily about big boobs, everything must be in the right proportion.”

That’s because the many different still tableaux, with which each number begins, must create a perfect illusion.

Clad in high-fashion garments by the likes of French fashion designers Paco Rabanne, Karl Lagerfeld and shoe czar Christian Louboutin, the show tantalisingly proclaims that it’s “Celebrating 65 show-stopping years of naked couture”.

Naked couture? In actuality, Jordan says, “it’s all about the lighting.”

“It’s a ‘moving’ show, with ballet and jazz, but done in a very artistic, sensual way. The way costumes are lit is a big aspect – yes, we mostly have costumes, but it could look as if we don’t – the show tricks the eye, that’s what I love about it.”

Once accepted into Crazy Horse, Jordan adopted the magical showbiz name, Azy Nénuphar and became famous for solo acts like “Leçon d’Érotisme” and “Lay Laser Lay.”

But that sounds like nudity, I suggest.

Well, maybe. “I’m not an exhibitionist and not someone who wants to be nude on stage, but it was always done in a special way, I always felt beautiful, I was always dressed by light,” she says.

Jordan predicts that Canberra audiences will be overwhelmed by the beauty of Forever Crazy”, which, though in France considered suitable for ages 15 and over, might be more for 18 and over in Australia.

“Forever Crazy”, Canberra Theatre, October 4-7. Bookings to or 6275 2700.


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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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