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Meet the Scots dancers ready to light up Moulin Rouge stage in Paris

A trio of talented Scottish dancers are getting ready to light up the Moulin Rouge stage when the famous Paris venue ­reopens next month.

Sarah Tandy, 39, Lucy Monaghan, 29, and Michaela Rondelli, 27, are part of a 60-strong chorus who are excited to perform again at the world-renowned landmark following its longest shutdown in more than a century.

The coronavirus pandemic forced the iconic red windmill-topped theatre to close after the last can-can was performed on March 12, 2020 – the longest break since the building was destroyed by fire in 1915.


The grand reopening will take place on September 10 and all three women can’t wait to don their feathers and glitzy outfits again.

As principal dancer, Sarah, from Whitburn, West Lothian, is at the heart of the glitz and glamour leading the troupe, who each have up to 12 costume changes a night.

Sarah – mum to Elliot, four – began dancing aged just five years old at West Lothian Dance World.

She said: “The Moulin Rouge has given me everything – a job I love, my husband David, who is also a dancer, and my son Elliot.

“I feel very lucky to have had the opportunities I’ve had and to be living in such a beautiful city like Paris.

“To work at the Moulin Rouge is a huge honour and you can really feel the history of the theatre as soon as you step inside.

Sarah Tandy backstage at the Moulin Rouge
Sarah Tandy backstage at the Moulin Rouge

“So many famous people have come to see our show over the years, including Steven Spielberg, Beyoncé, Cara Delevingne and Christina Aguilera.

“I’m so excited that we are finally getting back on stage and didn’t realise how much I missed it.

“I feel so fortunate to work in a company where we have job security.

“There are many in our profession worldwide who have struggled and have had contracts cancelled so I feel extremely grateful.

“I can’t wait to get my feathers on and perform on the opening night.”

Sarah, who has been a Moulin Rouge dancer since 2006, added that although she loves France, she misses Scotland.

She said: “I miss the country and my family but I try to get back home when I can.”

Lucy, from Glasgow, who has been a dancer since she was five, said: “I started off at the Maureen Christie studio in Hyndland.

Then, when I turned 10, I knew I wanted to become a professional and joined the Dance School of Scotland in Knightswood.

“When I was 16, I moved to London to complete my training at the Central School of Ballet. In my third year I saw an ad for Moulin Rouge auditions taking place in Norway and decided to go for it.”

Lucy said not being able to perform for the last 18 months has been “heartbreaking”.

She added: “I have missed it so much as it’s more than a job to me – it’s my passion.

“Normally we do two shows a night, seven nights a week, so to go from that to nothing was hard.”

Lucy explained being a Moulin girl requires her to stay extremely fit and flexible, especially for the can-can.

She said: “It was challenging trying to keep my fitness up during the pandemic as all the gyms were closed.

“I started using my kitchen counter as a ballet bar!

“We are all so excited about performing again.”

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Michaela, from Almondbank in Perthshire, who began dancing aged six at the Julie Young Dance School in Perth, agrees the trio are “living their best lives” being Moulin Rouge dancers and can’t wait to return to perform at the 1000-seat theatre.

From the age of 19 to 23, Michaela danced on cruise ships but her dream was to be a Moulin Rouge dancer.

She said: “Every six months I would email Moulin and ask if there were auditions but I could never make them as I was tied into a dance contract.

“Then one came up in Paris and I went for it and haven’t looked back since. I love being a Moulin girl.

“The atmosphere is amazing and the costumes are unbelievable.”



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