JASMINE Bard has kicked off October by starring in the 130th anniversary celebrations of the world's most famous cabaret.
Ashtonfield-raised Ms Bard, who started dancing with the Moulin Rouge last March, said it was "the most amazing feeling" to perform the can-can with the 60-member company as part of an outdoor sound and light show in the shadow of the red windmill. "It was such a surreal experience," Ms Bard said, from Paris, of the October 6 event.
"The [packed] street was closed down and businesses all around stopped and turned their lights off.
"For ten minutes everything just stopped to celebrate and honour the last 130 years of the Moulin Rouge.
"Performing the can-can was definitely my favourite part of the night, the feeling before running out screaming with my colleagues was indescribable. It was definitely a moment I will never forget.
"It felt like I was a part of very special history that will always have such a strong place in the world of dance and French culture."
Ms Bard recently signed a permanent contract with the Moulin Rouge, where she works six days a week, dancing in two shows each night.
"It is very exciting as I know I have job security, which is very rare in this industry," she said.
"I still can't believe that I get to do this as my job, most nights it doesn't even feel like work because I love it so much."
She has been performing in the featured snake solo role since last November, which involves being "sacrificed" into a tank of water with four boa constrictors.
"When I am in the tank with the snakes I do tricks with them, wrapping them around my body - I fight and dance with them, so to speak - and I finish the solo holding up one snake outside of the tank to represent that I won and survived."
Ms Bard said she was apprehensive before entering the tank for the first time.
"Once I jumped in it was like my nerves went away," she said. "I wasn't scared of the snakes at all, I was surprisingly very calm and really enjoyed being with them."
Ms Bard is also one of eight women who take turns performing as part of a stand-alone duo during the can-can.
She embarked on her first tour with the company over the weekend, when she performed in Warsaw as part of a televised show, The French Touch.
"It has been the most amazing, fulfilling and challenging two years of my life," she said.
"I have learnt so much, been given so many incredible opportunities and overcome many bumps in the road along the way.
"I've grown as a person as I've had to become a lot stronger and resilient.
"My apartment has been broken into which was devastating... but I got through it and I'm definitely stronger than I was before.
"I feel as though I have grown as a dancer as well... It's very important to show maturity and confidence on stage and no matter what has happened during the day to go out and do your job to the best of your ability."
Ms Bard also worked last month as a model for designers including Gemy Maalouf at Paris Fashion Week.
She said it was "extra special" when Hunter residents came to a show and if attendees contact her online beforehand she tries to meet them to say hello.