News / Theater & Performance

Forever Crazy: Crazy Horse Paris gallops into town

Forever crazy
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Lights, Camera … Bodies! The iconic Parisian cabaret show Crazy Horse Paris’ Forever Crazy Tour seductively slides into Tel Aviv this February, with sensual choreography, minimalist costumes, women dressed in lighting and projections showcasing a remarkable and memorable not-to-be-missed show. Over the phone from Paris, Time Out chatted with the remarkably talented Chief Creative Officer for Crazy Horse Paris, Andrée Deissenberg, who took over the reins over a decade ago.
What's the main and most important difference between Burlesque and Cabaret?
AD: I don't want to sound snobbish, but while Crazy Horse has its origins in Burlesque and we were born from the same movement, everything changed when the man who founded the Crazy Horse, Alain Bernardin adapted it. He started from Burlesque dancers and changed everything. Crazy Horse works with lights and small stages; it's much more a Parisian answer to an American movement. It's all about girls, femininity, glamour, beauty and a bit of humor. It's also less democratic, whereas in burlesque you see all shapes and forms, at Crazy Horse there is a body standard which I think has a lot to do with the size of the stage. Burlesque is usually performed on big stages with big props, fans and birds and paradise, the Bernardin opened the cabaret in a very small cellar and today it's become a trademark size, six meters long and two meters high. It's a box that looks like a frame, a frame that frames the girls. It means that we don't work with many props, our main prop is light. We try to create worlds and stories with the girls and their performance, but then enhance it with projections and lights. We also have minimalistic, very fashionable but very graphic costumes, which fit in a shoe, box, and there’s not a single burlesque dancer that would fit anything in a shoebox, aside from shoes! [Laughs]
I think burlesque is about women, women and women. Cabaret is a form of entertainment where you enjoy drinks and eat while watching a show. You might also have magicians and jugglers. It’s not the circus, because there's more dance, it's not burlesque because it's not all about femininity. Crazy Horse is put in a box of cabaret but we're cabaret that’s not really a cabaret, aesthetically creatively and artistically we are in a whole different league.
You were originally with the Cirque du Soleil and later joined Crazy Horse Paris, I was lucky enough to experience a Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas last year and I can only imagine what you brought to Crazy Horse Paris having had that experience.
AD: Yes! Cirque du Soleil is a circus, and yet it's not a circus, as Crazy Horse is a cabaret that’s not a cabaret. We live on the fringe somewhere, we are indefinable and yet very unique and hard to put in a box.
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It sounds artistic at the core, which is something theatergoers admire, especially in this world where everyone needs a distraction and wants to be transported and entertained. What is it about Crazy Horse that inspires you every day?

AD: It's a weird mix of the performers and the audience; it's the live aspect of it that drives me. I could never work in film or television because I like the heat of the moment. I’m inspired by the fact that we're able to bring joy and beauty and entertainment to people. That’s it. We make people dream. That's what makes me get up every day! That's my drug. It's an intense drug because you get used to the applause, and touching people through art. I find all that very elating and very fulfilling. It’s almost like giving birth every night [Laughs] without the pain of course! We are creating little moments, and little lives and I find that just very precious, and today in a digital world, we are still all about human exchange. We are also about things going wrong, a dancer can trip or lose her song and I find that exciting. It's not predictable, but it's life and it's real. 
How does Crazy Horse Paris aim to inspire?
AD: Our aim is to entertain, but we do notice that we inspire a lot of women! We have a way of celebrating femininity and putting it on stage, which is very inspiring to women all over the world. From what I've noticed, it's very respectful of women, it's beautiful, empowering and even if we present shows with nude bodies covered in lights you might think that's putting women down. No! There’s something empowering about it so when you watch it you walk out proud to be a woman and inspired. I have a gut feeling that women like the show even more than the men!
How did you reinvent Crazy Horse Paris?
AD: It's evolution and not revolution, and the revolution is not finished yet. Crazy Horse Paris is 65 years old this year, so when you come in and you want to move stuff you need to do it slowly, carefully and respectfully. One of the things I started doing was inviting guest stars and guest creators. 
You’ve had some incredibly fierce guest choreographer’s and creators join the mix, from Christian Louboutin to David Lynch, burlesque queen Dita Von Teese guest star in the show and Pamela Anderson too.
AD: With Dita, we are more or less the same age and we met because I am half American and we met through a mutual friend. Dita was a no brainer because she comes from burlesque, but highly modern, fits into small stages and she was crazy about the crazy! What I was looking for was a woman with a real artistic universe, with things to say. They don't have to just be gorgeous; beauty is almost beside the point. Pamela Anderson is iconic and when I met her she was so funny! She would make fun of herself and play the blonde bimbo but do it with a lot of humor and I thought that really fit well. She was not taking herself too seriously in the role she had created for herself. She is so far beyond a typical blonde. You don't become a huge star by being just a pretty face and big boobs. I chose Christian Louboutin because his imagination is just amazing, he pulls in ideas from all over the world and anything will inspire him. The more surprising the better! That's my goal, if I can surprise people -- that’s the best thing I can do. It gives oxygen, creative oxygen to everyone when there's a change in rhythm.
Crazy horse

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As you mentioned it's like giving birth, so this is like asking who your favorite child is, in terms of the tour what is your favorite act? 
AD: The whole experience is something to look forward to. It's aesthetically colorful, beautiful, fun and surprising. My favorite act is one where a girl paints herself with light, in French the act is called, "To turn red from desire”. There is another one called “Upside Down” where we play with mirrors, lights, and body parts.
What do you want the Israeli audience to walk away with? 
AD: The ultimate takeaway is to be entertained, escape reality for an hour and a half. The other is to be touched by the beauty of femininity and by the power of peace that women bring. 
Crazy Horse Paris Seductively Presents Forever Crazy at Reading 3, Tel Aviv Port, February 6-18.