PAZ PICAFLOR
Here’s a newsflash! One Crazy Girl in the Crazy Horse troupe only started dancing when she was twenty-one. Incredible, no? Wait for the rest. She has never taken a single ballet class. If you ask her how she got here, she will say: Samba! You got it right: Paz Picaflor is an odd one out at the Crazy Horse. Latina to the depth of her being, Paz brings her explosive, festive and colorful personality to her art!
previous
next
“For a very long time, I fought to free myself as a woman and open up to the world”
"I was stunned to make it here, as I was not a dancer!"
"As soon as I dance, I come alive. I feel like life is radiating within me and on stage... I explode!"

How did you get your stage name?

Paz means “Peace” in Spanish. Picaflor is a hummingbird. This exotic little bird with intense lagoon-blue feathers reminds me of my home country, the Dominican Republic. I even have a tattoo of one.

 

How did you get into dance?

My dance story started very late! I grew up in French Guyana, surrounded by brothers and with an authoritarian military step-father. Dance was not an option in my family. However, I went far as a handball athlete. But a bad fracture brought my professional career to an abrupt end.

At eighteen, I was desperate to discover the world and get away from the confines of my very strict family. For my very first trip, I decided to go to Brazil. It was a revelation, in every respect. I felt that I was reborn. Dance and music are pillars of Brazilian culture: they are a source of joy, a popular means of self-expression and simply something that people share. Going through life, I have always held onto that.

 

After wandering for a bit, I finally settled in Tours, France. That’s where dance became a full part of my life and of my body! I auditioned to become a dancer at a family cabaret. Although I had no training, I had nothing to lose. The lead dancer was actually Brazilian, and she told me that she would give me one week to learn all the samba steps perfectly.  Otherwise, I shouldn’t come back. I went home, opened YouTube and got started! Seven days later, I was hired. Little by little, I climbed the ladder and blossomed within this company, which had become like a second family to me. At the same time, I started making and selling samba costumes; I also created a Zumba class with my two cabaret partners. Everything was going well, but after ten years, I wanted to broaden my horizons.

 

After seeing a news report on the Crazy Horse, I started sending unsolicited applications. In the meantime, I had moved to Paris where I was doing a combination of dance and fitness: I was teaching classes and organizing spectacular events with my Brazilian dance troupe. Four years passed, and I came across an ad for the Crazy Horse. This time, it was for me! I went to the audition and was selected. I was stunned to make it here, as I was not a dancer by training!

 

What makes you particularly proud to be a Crazy Horse dancer?

Being a dancer at the Crazy Horse! My background is so atypical that I could never have imagined being a Crazy Girl. In fact, I still find it hard to believe. Sometimes when I go to bed at night after the show, I think to myself, “wow, another day at the Crazy Horse, what’s happening to me is amazing”.

 

Having already done ten years of cabaret, what was new for you at the Crazy Horse?

I am Latina, I naturally know how to move in a sensual way. But at the Crazy Horse, seduction is pushed to the limit. It must permeate every millimeter of our body, down to the tiniest movement. This requires immense concentration. For me, the mental effort is as demanding as the physical effort.

 

Are you the same woman on the Crazy Horse stage as you are in life?

Not at all! In fact, I’m a bit like the samba. This dance has a dual personality: the upper body doesn’t move at all, while the legs are in a kind of trance. I also have two sides. As soon as I dance, I come alive. I feel like life is radiating within me and on stage… I explode! But off stage, I am rather calm, orderly and cautious.

 

What still thrills you every day when you walk into the Crazy Horse?

It’s the promise of a different experience every night. When I walk through the cabaret door, I know I’m going to feel different emotions than the day before, depending on the other dancers, the audience and my own energy.

 

Do you have a little personal ritual before you go on stage?

Before I go on stage, I rub my hands together and touch the floor. On the one hand, it makes me feel like I’m getting rid of my stage fright. On the other hand, it’s a slightly superstitious gesture. It’s as if by touching the floor of the Crazy Horse stage, I am touching an object that protects me and reminds me how lucky I am to dance in this mythical place.

 

Which act of the Totally Crazy! show do you love the most?

For me, Scanner is really special. I have the feeling that it traces my entire history. We start out persecuted, imprisoned between two bars; then we break free from everything. For a very long time, I fought to free myself as a woman and open up to the world. Symbolically, I couldn’t have dreamt of anything better than the Crazy Horse to bring this journey to a beautiful end, a world away from the future I was destined for as a child.