The Folies Bergère is a Parisian music hall which was at the height of its fame and popularity from the 1890s through the 1920s. As of May 2009, the institution is still in business. It opened on 2 May 1869 as the Folies Trévise, with fare including operettas, comic opera, popular songs, and gymnastics. The Folies Bergère on 13 September 1872, named after a nearby street, the rue Bergère (the feminine form of "shepherd").
The Folies Bergère catered to popular taste. Shows featured elaborate costumes; the women's were frequently revealing, practically leaving them naked, and shows often contained a good deal of nudity. Shows also played up the exotic of persons and objects from other cultures, obliging the Parisian fascination with the négritude of the 1920s.
In the early 1890s, the American dancer Loie Fuller starred at the Folies Bergère. Nearly thirty years later, in 1926, Joséphine Baker, an African-American expatriate singer, dancer, and entertainer, became an overnight sensation at the Folies Bergère with her suggestive "banana dance", in which she wore a skirt made of bananas and little else. French writer Colette and Charlie Chaplin were two of the many notable performers to grace the stage.
excerpt taken from the Folies Bergère