TIME vintage color photos

Moulin Rouge: Vintage Color Photos of a Legendary Cabaret’s Dancers

Color pictures made in the late 1950s -- none of them published in LIFE magazine -- featuring the cabaret's celebrated dancers

In the world of show business, few addresses carry the cachet of 82 Boulevard de Clichy in Paris’ Quartier Pigalle. It is there, after all, that the Moulin Rouge — the model for a certain type of frolicsome, sophisticated nightlife the world over — has held sway for 125 years. It is there that countless men and women down through the decades have enjoyed extravagant (and cheerfully risqué) song-and-dance numbers while soaking in the atmosphere of an entertainment mecca. It is there that the energetic and, for many, scandalous cancan dance found its highest and most popular form of expression.

It is there that, for generations, so much of what is appealing about the Parisian way of life — the stylish melding of the practical and the sensual, for example — has been on never-ending, exuberant display.

Here, LIFE presents a series of color pictures made by Loomis Dean in the late 1950s — none of them published in LIFE magazine — featuring the cabaret’s rightfully celebrated dancers.

Can we enthusiastically recommend taking the time to look at every single picture in the gallery? Yes, we cancan.

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.

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