Memoirs Of A Showgirl is the true story of the little girl from Brisbane, Australia who tap-danced, pirouetted and high-kicked her way from dance classes as a six-year-old to dancing lead roles on the stages of Paris’s two prestigious cabarets, the Moulin Rouge and Lido.
Pulling back the curtain on the fascinating world of Paris cabaret, dancer Shay Stafford, a twelve year veteran of the Paris stage, invites us backstage at the Moulin Rouge and Lido to discover what it’s really like to tread the boards of the world’s most famous cabarets in the world’s most romantic city.
She details the highs and lows, the loves and temptations and the close encounters with the rich and famous in this remarkable account of a most extraordinary life.
In a publishing first, we are given a glimpse of the grind behind the glamour and learn that beyond its sparkling façade, not everything that glitters in the modern showgirl’s life is gold.
The rich history of the Moulin Rouge and Lido is recounted as are the proud traditions that keep this unique form of entertainment alive. The milliners, the seamstresses, the wig-makers and cobblers: the book celebrates the artisans who employ time-honoured practices against an evocative Paris backdrop to weave a little bit of French magic every night.
The book also relays the cautionary tale of how a stunning city’s seedy underbelly routinely seduces vulnerable young ingénues who flock from all corners of the world to dance on the Paris stage. (cont.)
Detailing her transformation from a single woman making the most of the extraordinary Parisienne nightlife to a happily married mother of two, Shay offers up a magical glimpse into another world from a down-to-earth and lovable Australian girl whose high kicks became the toast of Paris.
We see Paris through Shay’s eyes. The view over the Seine from the back of a Vespa, the backstage dramas, the loneliness of a life far from home, the excitement of living your dream plus the high melodrama of French love affairs are all told in Shay’s warm and honest voice. The book brilliantly captures the journey from the ordinariness of Australian suburban life to the glittering highs of the Paris stage, as well as showcasing the grit and determination needed to carve a successful career in dancing.
Shay Stafford has lived a life many dream about. Memoirs Of A Showgirl is her story.