France, a flourished city back in the 1800’s is the birthplace of Cabaret. The french word, cabaret, means any performance or restaurant that serves liquor and offers entertainment. It was often fancied by the bourgeois (upper middle class) because of the music, the comedy, the dances and the dramas the cabaret offers. Restaurants and nightclubs houses the amusement which comprised of tables for drinks and food along with entertainers and performers.
In 1881, the first cabaret known as “Cabaret Artistique” was established in Montmarte, Paris opened by an artist and was renamed to “Le Chat Noir” not long after. Le Chat Noir formerly listed poetry, songs and comic skits then it became a spot where may performers and artist were able to create new acts and construct new innovations with regards to the entertainment. The prime advocate of French cabaret was the Mouline Rouge in Pigalle, Paris that opened in 1889 as a dance hall which highlighted the performance of the “can-can” and the appearance of famous celebrities. Moulin Rouge was the pioneer of presenting cabaret as a seductive dance and has been followed by numerous other shows from other parts of Paris.
Moulin Rouge presented performers wearing exaggerated attires mostly colorful feathers and flashy rhinestones. Normally, female performers wore corset on top designed with rhinestones and sequin and their bottoms are made out of feathers while men wore, bow-ties, gloves flashy tuxedos with tails at the back and top hats. The stage was also made with shiny designs to make it more bold and amusing environment.
Since then, different cabarets started arousing around the world including the first German Kabarett that opened in Berlin in 1900 by Baron Ernst von Wolzogen. Although it maintained the grandiose ambience, it has created it own character by adding humour on their acts. And by late 1920s, the German cabaret continued progressing and featuring musical entertainments for upper class men including artists, intellectuals and writers as well as entering the political banter. The German cabaret was used by leftists to express their opinions regarding the government as portrayed on the musical show Cabaret (1966) and film version (1972) which illustrates the stories of Berlin. However, after the post World War II, although German cabaret remained, its political value was largely lost.
Subsequently in the United States, cabaret more popular as nightclub was also making a statement by creating a setting where the performer can create a relationship with the audience and organizes attraction with their famous performers. Although a few performers made outstanding work with regards political satire, cabaret in the United States focused more on attracting larger audience therefore they aimed theatrical celebrities to achieve their goal. On the other hand, nightclubs started to die out and replaced by entertainment centres where cabaret started taking place by 1980.
Despite the changes and modernization of entertainment industry nowadays, cabarets are beginning to have comebacks all over the world. The appreciation of art, and the one-of-a-kind way of cabaret gives a unique feeling to the audience that the modern entertainment does not offer and we can all hope it stays with our society for generations to come!