Meet the Mothers of Two Dancing at the Lido de Paris

Updated: Jun 14

For Mother's Day 2022, discover the mothers of two who dance the at the most prestigious cabaret in the world, Lido de Paris.

Woman in green dress standing with hands on her hips sings as male dancers in white suits dance around her on stage at French cabaret, Lido de Paris.
Photo of Alexandra Frouin, mother of two, performing as soloist in Bonheur, April 2013, photo by Marc Finot.

For Mother's Day 2022 meet 5 amazing mothers of two who dance at the Lido de Paris.

Audiences from around the world watch these mothers of two glide and smile elegantly as showgirls at the Lido de Paris. Indeed, the famous cabaret has a cast of dancers who are mothers to not just one, but two children! Discover the careers and family moments of these exceptional dancing mothers at Paris's most luxurious cabaret.


Luxurious Lido de Paris

First, get to know the famous Parisian venue, the Lido de Paris. It is a culturally important theater with a 75 year history of large-scale spectacles, couture costumes, and celebrity glamour. The shows are carried by a powerful cast of 40 - 60 artists known as Bluebell Girls and Kelly Boys. The women have a height minimum of 5ft 9inches or 175cm, with many women measuring above 6ft.


The theater is located near the Arc de Triumph and sits across from the Louis Vuitton and Dior showrooms on the Champs Elysees in the French capitol of Paris.

 

Mothers Day Fun Fact: The Bluebell Girls were founded by Irish-born dancer, Margaret Kelly Leibovici, who never knew her own parents, but was raised by a foster mother named Mary Murphey. Miss Bluebell, as she came to be known, was the dance mom to thousands of young performers she trained and recruited throughout her long career. She became a mother herself to son Patrick and daughter Florence. In her lifetime she also received the French Legion of Honor and the Officer of the Order of the British Empire from the Queen of England for her war efforts.

 
A tall blonde in a short red dress stands on cabaret stairs holding her young daughter in her arms, smiling.
Eve Jourdain with her first daughter, photographed backstage at the Lido de Paris

Dance & Motherhood

The performers at the Lido de Paris have both a prestigious dance career and family.

A showgirl's life does not stop after having children. They continue to grow both their family and career on stage. In fact, new mothers return to the stage with a more beautiful glow.


It can be easy to believe the myth that a woman has to quit her dance career to start a family. Or that it will be impossible to get back into shape after birth.

Well, what limited thinking!

Caroline Mathieu Auguste, soloist and mother of two, photographed by Clement Sautet in the show, Paris Merveilles

Adorned in little else than rhinestones and feathers, these women return to work in a physically demanding and challenging environment. Therefore, it is important to celebrate their achievements as both professional dancers and moms this Mothers Day 2022.


The challenges of pregnancy, motherhood, and return to work are very real. Thankfully, the system of health care and workers rights give opportunity to those who wish to plan and start a family. It is fabulous to see motherhood supported by laws, health care systems, and work culture in the arts and entertainment industry.




5 Definitions of Showgirl Motherhood

Without further ado - Meet the mothers of two at the Lido de Paris


-Caroline Mathieu Auguste-

Caroline Mathieu Auguste, photographed by Etienne Lacouture, at the Lido de Paris in Bonheur and with her children.


Caroline is one of the current stars at the Lido! She is from Liège, Belgium, and started ballet at 6 years old at the Grétry Academy. At 15 years old, she studied further at the Atelier Rudra Béjart school in Lausanne, Switzerland. Shortly after, when she was 18 years old, Caroline began her career at Lido de Paris as a Bluebell Girl on April 5th, 2005.

By the time Caroline welcomed her first child, she had grown into more prestigious roles within the company. In 2008 she was promoted from Bluebell Girl to the replacement Meneuse (principal female singer) and in 2009 she also began replacing the principal dancer. After five years onstage she welcomed her first child in 2010, Léo.


Caroline returned to the stage after the birth of her first son and established herself as a hard working senior member of the cast. Then in 2015 a new show called Paris Merveilles, was made and Caroline received a cascade of promotions. She moved into the 'Belle' line, became Second Captain (management), and again replacement Meneuse. By the end of the year, Caroline was officially offered the permanent position of Sublime, the highest role in the company. She enjoyed these roles for 6 more years before she welcomed her second child, daughter Billie, in 2021.


Interrupted by the pandemic and the gradual re-opening of the theater, Caroline made her second return to the stage in March of 2022, marking the 18th year of her career with the company. She now performs as the full-time Meneuse where she frequently receives enthusiastic standing ovations for her stunning performance.



--------- Read More About Lido de Paris 'Sublimes'---------

 

-Alexandra Frouin-

"It is amazing how the body can come back, even with the changes - and everything changes!" - Alex

Alexandra Frouin was born in Tours, France, and started her career at the Lido de Paris in 2008 dancing in the show, Bonheur, directed by Pierre Rambert. During her14 year career at the Lido she toured to many great European cities and performed alongside royalty, celebrity, and politicians.


After only 6 months with the company she was quickly promoted to replacement Meneuse followed by another promotion into the 'Nudes' line, as they were called at the time. A year later she was again given another promotion to become a swing - a dancer who learns all the roles in her line. Bonheur closed in 2014 and she was one of the few dancers kept to open a radically new show called Paris Merveilles, which was directed by Franco Dragone and choreographed by Benoit Swan Pouffer. The new show brought her a new role as captain of the Belle line and again replacement to the lead singer.


Alexandra says she started her career dancing onstage next to mothers, therefore it felt normal that one day she too would become a mother while performing.

It was 11 years into her career that Alexandra and her family warmly welcomed her first child, Jack, on April 1, 2019. She returned to the stage shortly after when, 7 months later, covid-19 restrictions temporarily closed the theater. It was unknown how long the closure would last, yet doubts about the future didn't deter her from welcoming her second child, Léo, on January 17th of 2021. The Lido was still under government mandated closure at the time, and wouldn't re-open until August. Alexandra returned to work alongside her colleagues for the intensive rehearsal process which preceded the theater re-opening in September 2021. She was part of the Captain team which re-shaped the show and kept artistic staff safe during the waves of covid-19.


-Eve Jourdan-

Before dancing at the Lido, Eve worked as a showgirl in USA, Canada, Monte Carlo, China and Italy. A talented singer, she starred as female lead, Mrs Potiphar, in the UK's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and in the ensemble of Spamalot in Cologne, Germany. To achieve this level of success Eve studied ballet professionally by age 11 at the Arts Educational School in Tring, England, then earned her degree at Laine Theater Arts from 16 to 19 years old.


Her career in France began in 2012 when she was hired by the Lido de Paris. After two months she became a swing, which led her to learn all the roles in the show, Bonheur. The closure of Bonheur ushered in a new era at the Lido. Eve was promoted to First Captain of the Belles for the creation of the new show, Paris Merveilles, in 2015. By the end of that year she was promoted to replacement Sublime, which is the principal female soloist. Two years later she learned the role of the Meneuse, the most coveted female lead singer role in the show. Her fondest memories over her ten year career at the Lido include the tours to Russia, Poland and Monte Carlo and meeting important celebrities and artists of our time during galas at Cannes and numerous other events and filming. Over time, Eve met and married a Frenchman. And, after 6 years on stage, welcomed Leila-Rose in September of 2018. Her second daughter, Olivia, was born in May of 2021. Eve returned to work after three months in order to manage her team of Belles in the unprecedented re-opening of the show.


In all it's history, the Lido had never shut it's doors. The pandemic brought complex challenges to the artists and direction of the show. Eve's careful planning and organization during this sensitive period was integral to the successful reopening in September 2021.

-Maja Kowalczyk-


Maja is a Polish beauty who has an identical twin sister named Iga who also dances professionally. They danced together at the Lido de Paris in the show Bonheur and then for Thierry Mugler in his 2013 Mugler Follies Cabaret Show. Maja returned to the Lido de Paris as a replacement Belle for the show Paris Merveilles in 2015.


The world of cabaret has a legacy of identical showgirls. Notably, the German-born Kessler twins, who performed at the Lido in the 1960s between their world tours and film career; And the Ryba twins who performed often as showgirls for the Ratpack's Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in Las Vegas. The photos show the Kessler twins in the beginning of their career and years later posing with Lido Director, Pierre Rambert, former Baller Master who succeeded Ms. Bluebell in 1982. Maja and Iga are shown posing with Thierry Mugler.


Maja welcomed her own set of twins, Maeva and Leonard, in 2020. The Lido was closed due to government mandated closures to counteract the covid-19 pandemic. Maja returned to the stage as a Belle when the Lido de Paris re-opened in late 2021. Her twin sister Iga still performs in Germany. There is always the possibility that her twins could make it in showbiz, too!


-Laura McCallister Bonnet-

Born in Swindon, England, to a large family, Laura grew up studying dance and graduated from Laine Theatre Arts. She became a Bluebell at the Lido de Paris in 2015, joining the new show, Paris Merveilles. She quickly was promoted to swing and shortly afterwards, a captain. Laura remained with the Bluebell line of dancers and eventually became the replacement First Captain and manager of the group of 10 - 12 performers. It should be noted that all the captains before her also became mothers while dancing at the Lido. Indeed, there is a strong legacy of role models for dancing mothers at the theater.

After 5 years dancing in Paris, Laura found love with a Frenchman, married, and started a family. In July 2019 she welcomed her son, Ashton. Her return the stage lasted several months before the covid-19 theater closures. She became one of many new mothers experiencing motherhood during a pandemic in a large metropolitan city with mandated isolation, strict regulations on travel, time spent outdoors, and meeting others.



With the end of the pandemic in sight and the theaters in Paris beginning to re-open, Laura welcomed her second child in November of 2021, a baby girl named Scarlett. By March of 2022 she was back on stage and resuming her duties as replacement First Captain of the Bluebell line.

Laura Bonnet being drawn by illustrator, Hossein Borojeni, for RevArte, video by Etienne Lacouture


--------Discover More Dancing Mothers, Click Here--------


Happy Mother's Day to these beautiful and successful women, so educated and esteemed in their careers; and so loving and attentive as mothers. May they serve as role models to the next generation of dancers!


Photo credits are listed within the photos and used with permission from the artists. Copyright 2022. All rights reserved to Hillary Sukhonos. Republication available with express written permission from the author. Thank you to the collaborators and organizations involved with the creation of this article. Learn more about the Lido de Paris and French cabaret through the recommended articles below!

 

1,402 views

Recent Posts

See All