Two New Zealand dancers are getting ready to slip into some of the most glamorous costumes they've ever worn and take local audiences on a journey to Paris.

Jessica Hart and Olivia James-Baird, both classically trained dancers, join the cast of Cabaret de Paris to appear alongside former Moulin Rouge star Marissa Burgess. The legendary showgirl starred in three multimillion-dollar revues — Femmes, Femmes, Femmes, Formidable and Feerie — and earned the title of Longest Serving Star in the Moulin Rouge's 120-year history.

Both Hart and James-Baird say they're welcoming the chance to join the stage spectacular which celebrates old-fashioned showgirl glamour, the skill of adagio dancers, aerial pole artistry, comedy circus performers, illusionists and, of course, France's most famous dance, the can-can.

Naturally, they describe it as a dream come true and relish the opportunity to show local audiences what they've worked so hard to achieve.


Hart, who started ballet and jazz when she was 4, finished her training in Sydney before travelling to India to work on Bollywood movies, music videos and television commercials. She's also worked in the Middle East and, since returning home to New Zealand, on numerous corporate and promotional events including the 2011 Rugby World Cup opening ceremony.

James-Baird was just 10 when she first performed with the Royal New Zealand Ballet in The Nutcracker and, like Hart, has a lengthy list of performances here and overseas.

The 90-minute Cabaret de Paris features more than quarter of a million dollars' worth of costumes crafted in traditional Paris style with feathers, sequins, rhinestones and jewels while Australian Todd Patrick choreographs the action. Patrick has worked with Disney, Versace, Dior, Issey Miyake, Gucci and Chanel as well as dancing at The Lido in Paris.

What: Cabaret de Paris
Where & when: The Civic, Saturday, July 7; The Opera House (Wellington); Saturday, August 25 and Issac Theatre Royal (Christchurch), Tuesday, August 28