Pick of the Day: Moulin Rouge

Taking its name from the red windmill that adorns its facade, the Moulin Rouge opened in Paris in 1889. As befitted its location in the red-light district of Pigalle, it was a highlight of the city's demi-monde, where people from all walks of life came to drink, be entertained by risque dancers and otherwise wallow in the debauchery of pre-WWI urban life.

Not surprisingly, the Moulin Rouge has long-fascinated artists. No less than six movies have been made with the title, and numerous others have featured scenes set there. Until his death in 1901, French post-Impressionist Toulouse-Lautrec was virtually artist-in-residence at the cabaret, creating dozens of paintings and posters that captured the heady mix of glamour and tawdry sex that fueled its appeal. Here's a link to At the Moulin Rouge, The Dance (1889) (Wikipedia).

Tonight at Conexus Arts Centre the Royal Winnipeg Ballet presents its take on the legendary cabaret. Home of the quadrille, the can-can and the notorious Diamond Dogs dancers, the Moulin Rouge offers fertile choreographic territory for the RWB's Jorden Morris. The production debuted in Winnipeg in October, and while it is grounded in ballet, like previous RWB productions Dracula and Carmen, it possesses an edgy contemporary vibe.

To get you in the mood, here's the trailer for the 2001 Nicole Kidman/Ewan MacGregor musical of the same name. This video for "Lady Marmalade" featuring Pink, Christina Aguilera and L'il Kim was also shot at the club. (YouTube)