Moulin Rouge casino-hotel dancer has high hopes for site’s future
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - There aren’t a lot of pictures or videos from Anna Bailey’s days as a dancer at the Moulin Rouge in Las Vegas’ west side, but the memories are still fresh in her mind.
“We had a certain way of singing, dancing, attitude,” Bailey said. “Rhythm and timing. People just loved it.”
Bailey was one of about 20 dancers who came from all over the country to dance at the casino in 1955.
“Our numbers were outstanding because they had us working really fast where the tempos were so fast,” Bailey said. “We did a can can that was a showstopper.”
At that time, Black performers in Las Vegas were forced to come in through the back door of casinos and leave when they were done to stay in another part of town. Bailey and her group were one of the first Black entertainers in the city who were able to perform and stay.
“We didn’t even think about it,” Bailey said. “When you’re young I think that’s what happens. You’re just happy to be together.”
The experience was short lived.
“We just couldn’t believe it,” Bailey said. “We just came to work one night and the padlock was on the door.”
The Moulin Rouge closed after just six months.
“For months our costumes still stayed in boxes in the dressing rooms because we kept thinking it was going to open up again,” Bailey said.
Bailey went on to perform at the Dunes and the Flamingo and built a life in Las Vegas with her late husband, Bob Bailey. She said she’s excited about the company that bought the land where the legendary hotel once sat.
“Whatever they put in there will bring hope to that side of town,” Bailey said. “It hurts my heart to see how it went down so completely. I would like one day to see it back the way it was. But I might not see it during my time.”
Her husband died of Parkinson’s disease about six years ago. But she said he would be pleased. too.
“He would be happy,” Bailey said. “He would do anything he could to make that site popular again.”
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