Valentin le désossé
He was the brother of a notary from Sceaux. Not much is known about his early childhood but it is believed that he was a wine merchant by day who was dancing at night in his free time at the bal of the Moulin Rouge, where he met Louise Weber also known as La Goulue. They were dancing together the chahut, a form of Can-can.
He was tall and slender. His name derived from the elasticity of his articulations. He could perform difficult contortions with grace, almost as if he were boneless. He would move from position to position with astonishing beauty. Le désossé was never paid for dancing because he loved to do it and refused pay.
He retired in 1895 and what he did after the Moulin Rouge is not well known.
- Played by Walter Crisham in Moulin Rouge, a film by John Huston
- Played by Philippe Clay in French Cancan, a film by Jean Renoir (the name of the character in the film is Casimir le Serpentin)
- Pollock, Griselda (1999). Differencing the canon: feminist desire and the writing of art's histories. Re Visions: Critical Studies in the History and Theory of Art. Routledge. p. 81. ISBN 0-415-06700-6.
- Letcher, Piers (2003). Eccentric France: the Bradt guide to mad, magical and marvellous France. Bradt Travel Guides. p. 110. ISBN 1-84162-068-8.