French Cancan dancers, flipping their skirts to show garters & black stockings, perform on stage at the Moulin Rouge nightclub. Photo: Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Two members of England's Margaret Kelly Dancers getting into costume in dressing room of the Moulin Rouge. Photo: Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Margaret Kelly Dancers of England performing French Cancan routine on stage. Photo: Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
French Cancan dancers getting ready in the dressing room before their performance. Photo: Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
High-kicking French Cancan dancers perform on stage. Photo: Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Margaret Kelly Dancers of England getting into costume & applying makeup in dressing room. Photo: Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Margaret Kelly Dancers performing routine on stage. Photo: Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Dancers getting ready for their La Goulue performance. Photo: Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Dancing debut of Margaret Kelly Dancers at the Moulin Rouge. Photo: Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
The French singer and dancer Mistinguett, between 1920 and 1930. She headlined shows at the Moulin Rouge and obtained many successful theatre roles. Photo: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
Dancers performing the Can Can dance during the shooting of the film Moulin Rouge, 1952. Photo: Popperfoto/Getty Images
Activists from the radical women's rights organization Femen are evacuated as they demonstrate on the roof of the Moulin Rouge Cabaret in Paris, on 6 October 2014, to protest against the sex industry. Femen activists have hung under the word "Rouge" (Red in english) the banner "is the colour of the revolution". Photo: AFP/Thomas Samson
Photo: Getty Images
Vanessa and Charleen dance the French Cancan, 1995. Photo: Getty Images
The Bold & the Beautiful: Moulin Rouge completes 125 years!
To most people, the name Moulin Rouge is associated with the gaudy but incredibly catchy 2001 musical. With a star cast and a few Oscars to boot, it's an understandable mistake.
But Moulin Rouge is not a movie. In reality, the Moulin Rouge, the cabaret seen in Lady Marmalade, the movie's most iconic track, is an actual and historical French institution - one that just completed 125 years of its existence.
Started in 1889, considered the birth place of the modern can-can, the Moulin Rouge has manage to carve a niche for itself in the already vibrant world of French culture. It's catered to actual royalty like Queen Elizabeth II and hosted music royalty like Frank Sinatra, Edith Piaf and Elvis Presley. But the Moulin Rouge's claim to fame isn't the bevy of stars drawn to it, but the show that draws them in.
Every day of the year, performers put on a spectacular 2 hour-long music and dance extravaganza unlike anything you'll see elsewhere. The show has a festive, circus-like feel - flashy costumes, over-the-top routines and OTT makeup and headgear - while maintaining a level of risque that gives it its unique character.
The Doriss girls and boys, the main lineup of performers that make the Moulin Rouge the success it is, are accompanied by an assortment of jugglers and acrobats. Together, they put on a show so good the Moulin Rouge is almost completely booked 365 days a year.
2015 marks another, more dubious anniversary: the original building of the Moulin Rouge burned down exactly a 100 years ago in 1915. Despite that, the Moulin Rouge lives on as a spunky, vibrant highlight of French culture.
(Text by Ranjan Crasta )