Meet the South Shields dancer who has become a star at Paris’s Moulin Rouge

South Shields dancer Caroline Raynal is enjoying life as the head girl at the world’s most famous dance theatre.

Caroline at the Moulin Rouge
Caroline at the Moulin Rouge

Caroline grew up dancing in the town and now performs two shows a night, six nights a week, at the Moulin Rouge, in Paris.

Caroline, a former Whitburn Comprehensive pupil, said: “I started 10 years ago in the Can-can, and around three years ago I became the principal dancer

Caroline Raynal with partner Olivier after completing the Great North Run

“. Being a dancer, I never knew where it would take me.

“I think my parents are really proud of me and I’m proud of myself, and to be still doing it now is amazing.”

She added: “I miss home and I miss my family a lot and come home to South Shields quite often. It’s a completely different life to what I have in Paris.”

Caroline started dancing when she was just two years old at the Valerie Shepherd Dance Academy, where she trained and performed until she was 16.

Caroline with parents Carol and Laurie Renno, and husband Olivier Raynal on South Shields beach

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She also attended the Kathleen Burdon School of Ballet in the town.

Having trained in tap, ballet and modern jazz, Caroline moved to Blackpool to train professionally at the Phil Winston’s Theatreworks.

Caroline has been performing in Paris for the past ten years.

Her parents, Carol and Laurie Renno, still live in South Shields and Caroline says there’s one area where Paris can’t compete with her home town.

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Caroline getting ready for a show at the Moulin Rouge

She said: “When I come home I love spending time with my family and having a walk on the seafront. I love the beach, it’s the one thing we don’t have in Paris.

“My husband Olivier was so impressed with our seafront. He’s travelled around the world and he says it stands out.”

The cabaret made headlines recently after it was revealed there were more British dancers than any other nationality.

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There are 60 Doriss Girls made up of dancers from 14 nationalities but there are now 23 British dancers at the Moulin Rough – more than the number of native French dancers.

Caroline Raynal has been principal dancer at the Moulin Rouge for three years

Caroline added: “People think that being in the cabaret or a showgirl you just stand and look pretty but it’s a lot of hard work. I think I wouldn’t be where I am if I hadn’t had the training I did. Valerie really pushed me, which I’m thankful for.

“I love everything about my job.”

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Caroline touching up her make up before the show