How did you get your stage name?
My first name “Coco” harkens back to the glorious Coco Chanel, because, as our artistic director Andrée Deissenberg noted, I embody “le charme à la française”. The name “Vanille” is actually my true middle name, given to me by my mother. A fitting tribute to her, as she is the one who taught me to dance and has always been my number one fan.
What do you share with the audience when you dance?
Life is a never-ending battle with its share of frustrations, self-doubts, obstacles. But when I danse, I free myself from all that, I forget about everything else and I feel good. It’s this idea of absolute well-being that I try to convey to the audience. This sensation of being totally and utterly happy, if only for the lapse of a dance.
What is it that keeps your passion alive?
Like speech, dance is a means of expression of its own. Dancing is my way of delving into and finding places deep within my being. I often compare dancing to music since it, too, can make us feel emotions without us truly understanding why or how they swell up in us. A choreography is like a succession of chords. Both have that same power over our hearts.
What kind of a woman are you when you’re on the Crazy Horse stage?
On stage I’m a better version of myself: talented, confident, beautiful. Feedback from the audience is immediate, you can feel their emotion, it’s real. I’m elated and self-confident.
What is it that still gets your heart thumping when you get to work every day?
What I love at the Crazy Horse is the mystery surrounding the dancers, which can’t be found anywhere else. That’s something that I was already fascinated by before working here and still am. For the duration of the show, we are allowed to embody an ideal, a dream and then, just seconds later, we disappear into the anonymous crowds again. I enjoy this apparent dichotomy. After the show, the memory of the performance lingers in the air like a subtle yet elusive perfume.
Do you have a trick to help you overcome stage-fright?
Aïe, don’t ask me that! I’m probably the most anxious of them all! I never quite understood this supposed difference between good and bad stress. Personally, I’m terribly nervous and have no idea on how to manage stage-fright.
What’s the first thing you do once you leave the Crazy Horse theater?
I’m actually quite the loner in real life, even a bit of a nerd! All the gloss and glitter, that’s for my job. But as soon I leave the stage, I like going to my snug and cosy home with my books, video games, mangas, into my girliverse.
Which scene of the Totally Crazy! show amazes you the most?
Undress to Kill fascinates me the most. It’s one of the rare numbers where we are completely naked and don’t dance, it’s all about stage presence. The dancer takes six different poses, each time “clothed” in a different color and light theme. The performance has to be extremely precise. You need to be at the exact right spot in the dark where the costume is going to be projected, while at the same time embodying an extremely charismatic woman. I have to admit, I enjoy this dual challenge of both play and precision. And then, Undress To Kill will always remain very special to me, as it was the very first time I was entrusted with a solo performance.
Photos : Rémi Desclaux