NORTH Vancouver's Cara Lee Hrdlitschka has been invited to perform for a year in Paris at the Moulin Rouge.
The 23-year-old dancer left last week to begin rehearsals at the legendary French cabaret known worldwide as the birth of the "can-can."
The former Seymour Dance student was among a group of dancers that auditioned for the job last summer in Sechelt. "It's kind of a long story," says Hrdlitschka.
"Somebody that used to dance for the Moulin Rouge offered their studio and it was actually in Sechelt. We took the ferry over and really made a day out of it.
"I got all the way through the audition stage - they make the cuts on the spot - and then they took a few of us and put us on the roster. It was a real waiting game because I didn't know if I would hear from them.
Seven months later I got the call."
Hrdlitschka's résumé includes a two-year stint at the Source Dance Company as well as a year with Carnival Cruise Lines dancing on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. She was thinking of stepping back on the high seas when the Moulin Rouge called.
Before leaving Hrdlitschka had to finish a job and inform all of her contacts she will be out the country for at least the next year. "The Moulin Rouge takes care a lot of the important stuff," she says. "They were working on getting my visa and my healthcare and stuff so that took a lot of stress off but then I had to go into the French consulate here to get approved."
Hrdlitschka knows a little bit about what to expect as a dancer as a colleague she met on the cruise ship went on to work at the Moulin Rouge. "That's what she was asked to do next. When I got the call she's the first person I contacted and she's actually still there on her third contract.
"I know it's been around for just a crazy, long time, over 100 years. It's everything from a production show to a cabaret to specialty acts. At one point there's a big glass tank that comes out of the stage full of water with this huge water snake and this girl gets in. I saw pictures and I was like 'What the heck.' I'm excited to learn all my pieces. The 'can-can' is what the Moulin Rouge is famous for and I think that's the final dance. The show itself is full of all different styles."
The young dancer was in Paris once before on a three-day visit. She walked by the Moulin Rouge and got a picture of the Red Mill exterior but never dreamed she'd be working there one day. "I'm excited to experience Paris," she says. "I took German in high school. I've got French discs in my car and I've got a computer program now so I'm trying to cram it all in."