Bring on the dancing girls. Having entertained everyone from actress Josephine Baker to Elton John and Elvis Presley, the exotic dancers from the famed Lido Paris are coming to town this week to Rixos, The Palm. Director Hervé Duperret talks to tabloid! about how and what he plans to bring big the cabaret show to the UAE.
Q: Your first time in Dubai, what can we expect from the cabaret show?
A: Lido Paris has been performing at its own venue at Champs Elysees for five days a week since 1946. Every year we select two or three venues in the world where we try to showcase a touch of Lido. For example, we performed at the D&G anniversary party at the Cannes Film Festival. The tour, A touch of Lido, travels with our eight dancers rather than the usual 80 dancers, and this is what’s coming to Dubai. Our performance there will have three shows of four minutes each. We have also ensured that the costumes and acts adhere to the cultural sensitivities of the region.
Q: What is it like performing day in day out? How do the performers keep inventing themselves?
A: Every year some 500,000 people watch our show. Lido is a French institution like the Eiffel Tower and the spectators want to see the show as it is.
Q: Tell us about the costumes behind the cabaret show and the different sets.
A: Edwin Piekny, a former Lido dancer, designed all the costumes for the show. The 600 costumes took a year and a half to complete with a budget of €3 million.
The mantle in the finale is made of blue-white ostrich and marabou feathers. This alone cost €18,000 [Dh88,277). For L’Hymne àl’Amour (The Hymn of Love) show, 18 dancers each symbolise a different flower — rose, iris, arum, poppy, camellia and orchid — and that set costs a dizzying €116,000.
Q: What are the inspirations for the various performances?
A: Pierre Rambert, the artistic director of Lido, thought up the lead idea which links four tableaux: I imagined a bird-woman arriving on her cloud of feathers from a place where happiness did not exist. She goes on to discover it in four worlds, woman, Paris, India and film.
Q: Tell us about the venue in Paris.
A: The sets for the show were designed by Charlie Mangel with the help of Arnaud de Segonzac and the Lido extravaganza requires you to be imaginative. The 23 sets for Bonheur (Happiness, another show) are impressive: the nave of a cathedral of light, a staircase spanning more than five metres, the rooftops of Paris with their cats, the Avenue Montaigne with its magnificent shop windows opening on to an haute couture fashion parade only to be changed into an factory scene for a rave party, and a Hindu temple with living sculptures.
Set design requires imagination: you have to play with trompe l’oeil [art technique using optical illusion] effects to magnify the proportions and more. The Lido stage machinery, with its turntable stage and three elevators allows the performers to descend from the sky or rise up.
The Lido Paris cabaret dancers will be performing on Thursday night at the White X Beach Club at the Rixos, The Palm. Other acts to take the stage include DJ Poet, DJ Enzo and DJ Jason Kabuki. Doors open at 7pm. Tickets start at Dh100. Call 056 175 10 10.