BELLE EPOQUE

BELLE EPOQUE

After French-Prussian, war was over Europe entered a new era known as the Beautiful Era or

the Belle Epoque. That period was marked by series inventions like automobile, phonograph,

telephone, and cinematograph. World Fair in Paris demonstrated impressing inventions of the

technique and technology achievements. Such misfortunes as Dreyfus Affair could scarcely

overshadow such a miracle like Eiffel Tower. Many authors who have ever written about the

Epoque used the word satiety. Since Italian Risorgimento succeeded and independent Italian

kingdom was proclaimed the Church has considerably lost, its influence in temporal affairs

Europeans sought not only for the new forms of making their daily bread but also for the new

forms of spending their spare time.

It was significant that pompously inaugurated in 1881 Basilica Notre-Dame du Sacre-Coeur

assigned to lend Montmartre some virtue it did not lose its fame of an ill-frequented

neighborhood. Music halls cabarets swarmed with artists eccentrics, courtesans and those who

sought for entertainment still mushroomed up. These were the undefeated by the Basilica

venues, which gave birth to such a phenomenon like the nightlife and cabaret in particular The

cabarets became first entertainment venues accessible for both the rich and for representatives

of the middle cal and workers. Here the audience could enjoy non-conformist songs

performed by Aristide Bruand who satirized renowned politicians. These venues were the

places where such famous literary groups like Les Hydropathes, founded by the Bohemian

Emile Goudeau or Les Incoherents appeared.

The most notorious Parisian cabarets of the epoque were Folies-Bergere and Moulin Rouge.

Moulin Rouge which inspired Toulouse-Lautrec was built in 1889 in red-light district of

Piegalle in Paris near Monmartre and is renowned for the red windmill model mounted on its

roof. That cabaret is famous worldwide as the cradle of Can-can. In fact, can-can had existed

long before building Moulin Rouge as a decent labor-class party dance. In the early days of

Moulin Rouge, however adapted by courtesans to entertain mail audience. As time was

passing on the dance gradually acquired more and more vulgar and erotic features causing

much public outrage. The Guide to Paris nightlife, edition 1898, are describes the French

Can-can dancers as an army of young girls in Paris who dance this divine dance with such an

elasticity when they launch their legs upwards that we may presume that they are at least as

flexible with morals.

However, the first decade of the Cabaret was marked not with can-can only. The venue was

famous e.g. for the show of Petomane (the 'farting' man).

Nonetheless, later with the growth of popularity of that kind of entertainment throughout

Europe prostitutes and men suffering from meteorism no longer played in cabarets. Moulin

Rouge itself became a legitimate nightclub. Since then can-can has gradually lost its outward

vulgarity yet is still famous for its athletic and acrobatic tricks.

Nowadays, the Can-Can performed at the Moulin Rouge is considered iconic in dance

throughout the World.

During the thirteen years preceded, the World War I Moulin Rouge became a genuine temple

dedicated to operetta.

Although Moulin Rouge is but the most notorious cabaret in the world and is considered

iconic in can-can, it was not the first theatre to play in that genre. The true pioneer of cabaret

theatre was Folies Trevise. Built after the pattern of the Alhambra music hall in London it

was opened on 2 May 1869. The music hall presented such

performances as operettas and pantomimes acrobatic sketches. However, since the nudity

came into fashion in Parisian venues in 1894, the theatre has been producing rather provoking

shows with women in scanty but splendid attires. Shows of that kind soon overshadowed its

other performances. The venue has rather curious origin of its name. The word “folies” is

the French for “leaves” connoting the idea of an outdoor venue. The theatre was situated on

the intersection of rue Richer and the rue Trevise. However, Duke de Trevis a prominent

nobleman did not want his name to be mingled with such an indecent dance-hall so the name

of the venue was changed for Folies Bergere after another nearby street rue Bergere.

Folies Bergere could be esteemed as the theatre, which pioneered striptease, as it is known

by now. Nevertheless more than a hundred years passed since its opening it is still

followed as the pattern by venues of a kind throughout the world.

The French have but the always been the pioneers of any progressive changes in

Occidental civilization. They were the first to formulate the Declaration of Human rights,

the y were the first who adopted the first Civil Code (aka Napoleon code) which secured

equal protection of the law regardless of the class origin. They were the first to contrive

legal means for entertainment accessible for anyone regardless of estate. Advent of such a

phenomenon as nightlife signified the emancipation of people’s minds, their liberation

from ecclesiastical dogmas imposed by hypocritical clergymen. People began feeling like

being free; they realized themselves belonging to themselves regardless of sex and their

social origin.


LIST OF SOURCES


1. http://www.la-belle-epoque.de

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belle_Epoque

3. http://www.moulinrouge.fr

4. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9034751/Folies-Bergere