Behind the scenes at Crazy Horse Paris: meet Svetlana Konstantinova, stage director
Every night, the Crazy Horse Paris show combines wonder and glamor. But behind the show, grace and femininity are the fruits of demanding work.
That is what Svetlana Konstantinova, stage director and guarantor of the legend that is the Crazy Girls troupe, has been passionately carrying out for more than a decade.
Svetlana Konstantinova is an attentive and caring presence working in the shadows so the Crazy Girls can shine in the spotlight. Read her interview below.
What is your role at Crazy Horse Paris?
I started classical dance and stage training at the age of eight and joined the management of the Crazy Horse Paris troupe in 2007. I then became show manager in 2009, and now I am the Stage and Production Director. That means that I’m in charge of the Crazy Horse troupe in Paris and on tour. I guarantee the quality of the shows night after night, and I train and rehearse the Crazy Girls.
What is special about your work?
At Crazy Horse Paris, each show is unique, but it always uses the same choreographic language, which is specific to our House and unique in the world. That is what really sets our shows apart. The arched back, the lighting effects, the graphic projections, the bobbed wigs, the high heels and the scarlet red lips, the specific size of our scene – all these elements contribute to creating our unique show.
The solo dancers are different each night, which allows every Crazy Girl to continue to progress and not get stuck in a routine. In addition, you really have to think about the size and personality of each dancer for the group numbers. The visual effect must be perfect. To assist me, I appoint captains, who are my “right-hand women” during the show. They are dancers with experience and character who have a sense of responsibility and organization.
What kind of dancer is a Crazy Girl?
I believe our dancers are artists who do not limit themselves to performing a choreography, but who work on their interpretation. Every Crazy Girl is different, with her own personality and with something special to offer. That’s what makes the magic work! She must be capable of captivating the audience on her own, and that comes from what her body expresses as well as her state of mind. A Crazy Girl feels and shares emotions, and that is the focus of all our work. Moreover, the dancers now take theater classes to cultivate this presence. When they express their feelings, cultivate them and offer them to the audience, we are able to witness emotional moments, and that’s what we’re looking for.
Is it complicated to become a Crazy Girl?
The audition is very short (one and a half minutes) and the applicant has to improvise to a random piece of music. What makes someone stand out is quite subtle. The ability to capture the light, or some special little thing that lights up the audition, sometimes for just an instant, but that shows all her potential. Having so little time to win the jury over also helps us assess how the applicant will manage stress, which is very important for joining the Crazy Horse troupe.
How are they trained once they succeed at their audition?
We require great discipline because we aim for excellence and the beauty of harmony.
From the tips of their nails to the ends of their hair, every detail counts and contributes to creating this vision of the height of proud femininity that is showcased on the Crazy Horse Paris stage every night.
Moreover, many Crazy Girls come from a classical dance background, so they have to leave that academic rigor behind and give their curves and sensuality the freedom to express themselves.
Essentially, they have to relearn how to dance! The best example is working on developing an arched back, which is one of the signatures of Crazy Horse Paris. But it’s also important to acquire the “Crazy attitude” – a stage presence, the Crazy Girl stride, look, etc. It can take years before a new recruit becomes a “real” Crazy Girl: a free, strong and confident woman.
When Crazy Horse Paris works with creators and guests, how do you fit into that?
The creators bring their ideas, they are present during the rehearsals – we spend a lot of time together. They become a bit like part of the family, they belong to the House. The entire collaboration takes place in a spirit of exchange because it is necessary to find the common ground between their vision and that of Crazy Horse Paris with its internationally unique vocabulary and image. With that in mind, I make sure that everything goes smoothly, with an approach combining the staging and the choreography.
What are your tips for aspiring Crazy Girls?
First of all, you have to have a real passion for the profession and for the stage. A Crazy Girl continues to work, search and progress as an artist. She must like to show herself on a stage and have self-confidence – that takes courage and a certain openness.
Of course, she also knows how to take care of herself and cultivate her beauty! But the dream must also be part of her life. She seeks to achieve her dreams by setting goals and loving what she does with all her heart.
To discover Svetlana’s work and the show “Totally Crazy”
Crazy Horse Paris invites you to book your evening here or by phone +33 (0)1 47 23 32 32
Photos : Antoine Poupel & Riccardo Tinelli