Lucy Monaghan, dancer

I HAVE been dancing since I was five years old. I was 11 when I decided it was what I wanted for my career.

I grew up in the west end of Glasgow and went to the Dance School of Scotland in Knightswood. When I was 16, I moved to London to complete my training at the Central School of Ballet. It was amazing, perhaps a little bit of a shock to the system having to do my own washing for the first time – but I was just so happy to be there.

When I was in my third year, I saw an advert for Moulin Rouge auditions, which were taking place in Oslo and I decided to go for it. By the time I finished my course, I had been offered a job.

It felt like a dream come true, to a little girl who had wanted to be a dancer since she was eleven, to be on stage doing the French cancan at the Moulin Rouge.

It is such a well respected and loved place – everybody knows the Moulin. When you walk in, you can feel the history of the place in the fabric of the building – it's celebrating its 130th anniversary this year. I love the fact I am walking in the footsteps of wonderful dancers who have graced the famous stage throughout the decades.

I wear 12 different costumes in each show – stunning, stylish dresses with feathers and sequins and headdresses. Some of them are quite heavy, and difficult to wear. As part of our training, we are taught the correct posture and the proper way to walk down stairs in heels, and after a while it becomes second nature. There is a big backstage team who help us to get changed, so it works like clockwork. They make repairs when needed too – a broken heel, a jammed zip.

I think my favourite costume is the beautiful Féerie costume I wear in our current show. It is red, with feathers, and so glamorous.

I came home recently to support the Prince's Trust's Lunch With an Old Bag event at Edinburgh's Prestonfield House. It was fantastic – it was a great opportunity to show off some of our iconic costumes, including historical pieces such as the black, red and silver snake number worn by Jane Avril in the original Toulouse-Lautrec posters.

Living in Paris is fantastic – my parents, Aileen and Charles, come out to visit a lot. They have seen the show, of course, and think it's wonderful. They have always been incredibly supportive. I don't think dance was their dream for me, to be honest, because they were concerned it might be a risky career. But since I made my decision, they have always backed me.

How do I relax? I dance.