History of the Crazy Horse History of the Crazy Horse

History of the Crazy Horse

The Crazy Horse is a temple to the female form, a place with its own mythology that celebrates the nights when the City of Lights becomes the City of Delights - and all situated just steps away from the Champs-Elysées. More than 60 years on from its founding, the Crazy Horse is constantly reinventing itself, with more and more variations on the endlessly fascinating theme of feminine sensuality. This is the story of a cabaret like no other...
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The origins of the Crazy Horse myth

On May 19, 1951, Alain Bernardin, a visionary and fervent admirer of the female gender, founded Crazy Horse, a cabaret in Paris where the creation and sublimation of the female body take center stage. The teasingly libertine stripteasers succeed each other under the vibrant lights of Crazy Horse, captivating the hearts of the audience during each show. The erotic tableaus are interwoven with traditional cabaret acts, featuring a diverse array of variety artists, magicians, ventriloquists, and singers who take the stage while the girls prepare for the next act. According to tradition, these performers are always men, the sole possessors of the right to be on stage. It is here that a certain Charles Aznavour earned his stripes as a singer.

The 1960s witnessed the rise of women's emancipation and changing social norms. The sexual revolution was in full swing, and Crazy Horse, influenced by these cultural shifts, embraced these new societal codes to infuse its spectacle with a fresh burst of energy and modernity. Each performance became a meticulously crafted tableau, designed around choreography, ambiance, decor, and a unique play of lights. Thus, the legend of Crazy Horse began to take shape...

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After founder Alain Bernardin passed away in 1994, his children - Sophie, Pascal and Didier Bernardin - continued the proud tradition of the Crazy Horse in memory of their trailblazing father. For its 50th anniversary in 2001, the Crazy Horse galloped away from France for the first time. Destination: Las Vegas! Success on the Las Vegas strip was the crowning glory of the Crazy Horse's achievements. Four years later, the Bernardin family decided they needed to move on, and they sold the Crazy Horse. A new team headed by Andrée Deissenberg took charge of what had become the world's most renowned cabaret venue. He undertook to preserve the legend, while adding to its artistic allure. "I don't want to revolutionize the Crazy," he said, "but I do want it to evolve, to wake up, to sparkle once more." His strategy: to invite some famous names to perform as guest stars on the famous stage. In October 2006 the new era of the Crazy began as the extraordinary Dita von Teese, diva of international striptease and icon of charm, premiered her debut show at 12 Avenue George-V on a night of extraordinary sensuality. More prestigious shows with top name guest stars followed: Arielle Dombasle, Pamela Anderson, Clotilde Courau, Carmen Electra, Noémie Lenoir and many others helped to re-ignite the Crazy flame. The crowds packed in, drawn once more by the allure of the Crazy Horse.

Inspired by this renewed success, the new cabaret team decided to do more. In 2008, choreographer and dancer Philippe Decouflé was commissioned to expanded the Crazy Horse repertoire. That spring the collaboration bore its first fruit: a show called 'Desires' that drew on the past of the Crazy Horse while drawing in the new traditions of contemporary dance. More innovation came in March 2012 as the Crazy Horse invited its first Guest Creator into the Crazy family. The celebrated fashion designer Christian Louboutin, renowned for the signature red lacquered soles of his label's shoes, directed four new tableaux, inspired by everything from hip hop to the masterpieces of the art world.

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Beauty rules at the Crazy

To become a "Crazy lady", aspiring performers have to meet exacting criteria, designed to quicken the heartbeat of those who are privileged to witness their performance. Club rules say these icons of beauty must be between 1.68 and 1.72 metres in height - no more and no less - with long legs, and a proud - and natural! - chest with its two points 21cm apart and a navel 13 cm above the pubic region. This may sound as if beauty is being reduced to mere numbers, but what the Crazy calls its "Golden Rules" have worked for more than six decades - and have been revised over the years to include both dancing and acting skills, with, above all, added sophistication and personality. If the criteria are met, all of the dancers then assume the Crazy's signature identity: they wear a brown or blonde wig, square cut, with a fringe framing their perfect faces. Lips are trimmed with passionate red, and, on their feet, the most vertiginous of heels complete the perfect fantasy image of beauty.
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Truly a world apart

The Crazy Horse is like a bubble, a "world apart," protected from the outside by two guards, a descending staircase, and then two swinging doors behind which plush red carpet muffles the steps of visitors immersed in warm light. The ladies will notice the original double toilets in the same cabin.

Servers welcome and seat the spectators in this cocoon. It's time for the appetizer. Champagne flutes dance between the tables. And suddenly, the room is plunged into complete darkness... Let the show begin!

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