A Perthshire dancer has revealed what it’s like to take to the stage in the world-famous Moulin Rouge.
Michaela Rondelli, who is originally from Almondbank, passed one of the toughest auditions in the world to land herself a place in the cast at the Parisian nightclub.
And on Hogmanay she will feature in a documentary on Scottish TV to mark 130 years since the home of the can-can opened its doors.
Michaela is one of three Scots currently dancing at the Moulin Rouge – alongside Glaswegian Lucy Monaghan and Sarah Tandy, from East Lothian.
The 26-year-old, a former champion highland dancer, has been dancing the can-can with the Moulin for three and a half years, performing in two shows a day six days a week.
She said: “I wanted to audition since I was 18 but every time the auditions came to London or were in Paris I was never around – I was always on a different dance contract, which was really annoying. Eventually they invited me to audition privately here in Paris.
“I flew in on the Thursday and at the end of the day they told me ‘you start on Monday’ – and I cried. It is my dream job. It’s the best job in the dance world.”
Michaela said she was not fazed by the famously skimpy costumes worn by dancers.
“It’s not vulgar in any way,” she said. “It’s really empowering to be in stage as a woman doing this, and it’s your choice. I think it’s great that we all have the confidence to be able to do that – I love doing it.”
The world-famous dance cabaret Moulin Rouge opened its doors on October 6 1889 at 8pm, the same year as the Eiffel Tower.
The early dancers were immortalised in paint by artist Toulouse-Lautrec.
According to Moulin Rouge PR manager Fanny Rabasse the can-can began as a way of women expressing anger against society with steps such as “The Cathedral”, which are still used today and see two dancers making an arch with their legs, mocking the power of the church.
The famous can-can dresses each contain 25 metres of frills and cost €7,000 to make.
The audition process for entry into the Moulin is one of the toughest in the world. Janet Pharaoh the ballet mistress travels the globe in search of the correct dancers.
She said: “I take time over my auditions, I travel the world looking for the perfect type of dancer. They have to be tall, they have to look good in the costumes, they have to have personality, but most of all they have to have perfect dance technique, for those that make it and get in, this is the best dance job in the world”.
Moulin Rouge Ecosse will be broadcast on BBC Alba on December 31 at 9pm.