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The Story Behind the Photo: Mothers in Showbiz, Part 1

Updated: Apr 25, 2022

Former Star of Lido de Paris, Corina Burgess shares a photo taken in 2000 of her and her daughter, Savanna Haenel, on the Champs Elysees in Paris.

"I’m so glad we took this quick snapshot not knowing where her destiny would lead her."

-Corina Burgess

A tall brunette woman stands on a street in Paris with her young daughter on her hip. She looks over her shoulder as her daughter looks into the camera. Taken in early 2000s, France.
Corina Burgess posing on the Champs Elysees with her 1 year old daughter on her hip, who would also become future principal dancer at the Lido, Savanna Haenel.

This is the Story Behind the Photo

This photo of Corina Burgess with Savanna on her hip was snapped in 2000. They were taking a side street that connects the Champs Elysees to the artist door at the Lido de Paris. Corina, Savanna, and Gunnar all snuck backstage to reminisce on the happy times they had in the theater.

At the time, Corina had recently retired from performing and was travelling throughout Europe with her 1 year old daughter, Savanna. Savanna's father, Gunnar Haenel, was the specialty ice skating act at the Lido de Paris. Unbeknownst to them, Savanna would follow in her family's footsteps and become a Bluebell and principal dancer at the Lido.

"The memories rush back...holding her on my hip so happy to have danced in the most prestigious cabaret in the world."

-Corina Burgess

Gunnar and Corina met in 1981 while both performing in Paris at the Lido de Paris. Gunnar and his sister were a well-known skating duo. Due to the demanding schedule and lack of replacement acts with this specialty, the duo rarely had a day off. They performed for Elvis Presley and remained friends with stars they had worked alongside and performed for. Their act was known for speed and dare-devil tricks on a small square ice rink. Corina's career at the Lido quickly took off. After six months she became the replacement principal soloist, and eventually the permanent swing principal - performing all the soloist roles in the show. She had the honor to be named the 10,000th Bluebell and was flown around the world on a private jet receiving honors alongside Ms. Bluebell herself. The couple had enormous talent.

Gunnar and Corina welcomed their daughter in 1999 after they had both retired from the stage. On her18th birthday, 17 years after this photo was taken, Savanna auditioned at the Lido. She is now principal swing, performing all the soloist roles just like her mother, in a new show created in 2015 called Paris Merveilles. Corina, Gunnar, and family from around the world have been back to Paris many times to see Savanna dance.

"We are very proud of our little miracle child who arrived later on after we had both retired."

-Corina Burgess

For more Stories Behind the Photo, Mothers Day edition, follow the recommended articles below. Happy Mother's Day 2022 to all the dancing mothers.

All photos and quotes used with permission. This article is under copyright and can be published with express written permission by the author.


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