At Bally’s Jubilee!
Fluff LeCoque, Company Manager, Jubilee!, Bally’s
In her 80s? Au contraire! And, who’d ever believe it? This lady flies up and down backstage stairs with the spirit and energy of an 18-year-old. She has things to do, deadlines to meet and a cast of 85 singers and dancers who pay strict attention to her every move.
Is she the latest diva? Hardly. She is the legendary Fluff LeCoque, company manager of Donn Arden’s smash hit, “Jubilee!”, which continues to dazzle crowds at Bally’s Las Vegas for over 24 years. In August 2004, they performed for their 10-millionth guest.
“I’ve have been dancing all my life — all over the world,” states LeCoque. “My first real professional dancing role was in 1947. I was the principal dancer and company manager for 10 years with Frank Sennes’ famous Moulin Rouge in Hollywood, California.”
LeCoque arrived in Las Vegas in 1963. “I worked with Margaret Kelly’s famous ‘Bluebell Girls’ and with Donn Arden as a choreographer in several of their productions. My career as a dancer ended in 1973 when I became company manager for ‘Hallelujah Hollywood,’ the show that occupied the theatre at Bally’s hotel prior to ‘Jubilee!’ I’ve been on this property since 1973.” She later landed with “Jubilee!” in 1981 where she now serves as the show’s company manager.
“Jubilee!” gets top votes for “Best Showgirls” by the Las Vegas Re-view-Journal. With 85 performers, million-dollar sets, stunning musical numbers and topless showgirls with breathtaking costumes designed by Bob Mackie and Pete Menefee, Le-Coque has assembled a top team of amazing performers.
From the exciting “Showtime!” open-ing to “Samson and Delilah,” the “Titanic” and to the Finale tribute to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, all enjoy an extravagant night of entertainment. With a top team of eight principal dancers, 13 featured singers and performers, 64 dancers, a production staff of 22, with 25 in wardrobe and 35 in the stage crew, it is a team effort to pull off this Las Vegas production spectacle.
Switching gears: Of all the stars you have worked with and all the dancers you have trained, what are you most proud of? (a long pause for reflection) “It was something I did years ago, when I was going to the university and I had my dancing school.
“A woman brought in her daughter, Dorothy, who happened to be retard-ed, and wanted her to have private dancing lessons. Her daughter was 27 years old, but her mother said she only had the intellect of a 12-year-old. She had no muscle tone, stringy hair and her face was all broken out. I said I would do it, yet by my own rules.
“I talked with Dorothy, not down at her. I said when you come back I want your hair pulled back tightly and in a bun, your face washed, your nails cleaned, your tights straight, and your leotards on properly. I want you to stand up when you come into the room and curtsy to me.
“The next day, she came out of the dressing room changed, with her hair back and a smile on her face. I worked with her for six straight months. Her little legs now had muscle tone, her posture straightened up and she was able to make it to dance class on the bus all by herself. She started to have pride. I just knew she could do it. That is the best thing I have ever done. It makes me cry just to remember it.”
May Fluff LeCoque continue with her admirable role as inspiring teacher and friend to all those around her.
* reprinted with permission from Las Vegas Dreams and Jim Bickford