Taking to one of the most famous stages in the world, Anna Coope says being part of the Moulin Rouge is a “dream”.
The 23-year-old dancer from Garstang performs twice a night at the ‘home of the can-can’ in Paris.
The cabaret performer, who grew up in Lancashire, has been dancing since the age of two and is now living out a childhood fantasy.
“I’ve always loved dancing and from an early age began doing ballet, tap and jazz,” Anna said. “Then my teacher told me to audition for a specialist school.”
Anna first went to Garstang Community Primary School but after auditioning she took up a place at Hammond boarding school in Chester at just 11-years-old.
After five years honing her dancing, singing and drama skills, Anna auditioned and won a place at the Elmhurst Ballet School in Bristol.
“That was when I got my big chance to be in the Moulin Rouge,” she said. “I went down to London and lined up outside Pineapple Dance Studies with hundreds of girls and they eventually whittled us down to a final 15.
“They tested everything like our flexibility, our dancing and our height. You have to be five foot nine to be in the show and I was really worried because I’m five foot eight! It was all very nerve-wracking but luckily they didn’t measure me and we had to wait to find out if we had a place in the show.”
Anna, whose parents still live in Garstang, then began working on cruise ships and in the summer of 2015 she got a call offering her a place in the famous show.
She said: “I wasn’t able to take it straight away as we were half way across the world. I was worried I would lose my place but they said I could start in the November.
“It was amazing to get a place and I moved to Paris as soon as I was back.”
More than a year on, showgirl Anna now lives in an apartment with her French roller-skating boyfriend Jonathan, who also performs in the show with his sister.
She said: “It’s very tough physically and my day is backwards because the shows runs until 2am and then I’m sleeping until midday before going off to do it again the next night. I’m in the show six days a week with my one day off being Wednesday.
“But it really is the dream being in the show, I don’t know what the future holds but if I did nothing else in my career then I’d still be proud to have done this.
“We have people doing the show who are in their forties so we’ll just have to see how my body holds up because I’d love to stay in it for as long as possible.”