Le Cirque Rouge celebrates 10 years

Le Cirque Rouge celebrates 10 years
Photo courtesy Le Cirque Rouge 

Le Cirque Rouge Cabaret & Burlesque, the Twin Cities' longest running current burlesque troupe, will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this weekend at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall. The troupe came about after a serendipitous stop at Sex World when Amy Buchanan, the group's founder, went into the shop to buy cigarettes. The visit spurred a series of events that eventually led to 10 years of music, dancing, and wild, sexy fun.

Le Cirque Rouge celebrates 10 years
Photo courtesy Le Cirque Rouge 

Buchanan remembers feeling awed by her Sex World visit, from the booby ice trays to the girls behind the glass. She interviewed the women and started writing an essay on a paper bag. An idea came to her that someone should have a Red Light District Block Party, with all of the girls from Sex World and Choice Gentlemen's Club in attendance. She approached the owner of Urban Wildlife, which sat next door to the defunct New French Bar. The owner held the lease for both spaces, and suggested Buchanan hold an event there. 

While there were burlesque troupes in New York and other cities, at the time there wasn't really a scene here in Minnesota. Buchanan enlisted her friends, who donated a bunch of parts and pieces and cobbled the space together for the evening. They also got a boost when the Star Tribune ran a big story about burlesque being back in the Twin Cities after 50 years. The party, complete with a live band, real singing, and performances from Le Cirque Rouge, was a hit. 
Le Cirque Rouge celebrates 10 years
Photo Courtesy Le Cirque Rouge 

Prior to the event, Buchanan had never done any burlesque. However, she had been in bands since she was 17, and had published a newspaper since she was 19, which, like the burlesque troupe, was put together through contributions by lots of different people. 

Through the years, Buchanan says, there have been a few Fellini-esque moments and some wild times. Le Cirque Rouge has experimented with different styles, including music from the 1920s and a few Ween songs. "We've done anything quirky and weird," she says. The troupe has singers, like herself, as well as dancers and a number of members who can do both. Throughout it all, Garron Haubner, the House Boy, has been there, performing in over 700 shows. 

The anniversary celebrations on Friday and Saturday will welcome back numerous Le Cirque Rouge alumni, and Saturday's show will be followed by an after-party that will include impromptu performances, photos and videos from the past 10 years, storytelling from alumni, and former Le Cirque Rouge musicians back to play. 


Le Cirque Rouge's 10th Anniversary
7:30 p.m. Friday, September 6 and Saturday, September 7
Amsterdam Bar and Hall
Tickets start at $15

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