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Can Can Dancers Logo

Can Can Dance History Origin Title      There are Egyptian relief's that depict the fundamental Can-Can high kicking above the audiences heads. The Catatonian's and Parisian women (French) are also depicted kicking the hats off of the gentlemen spectators. The "Triori" of 1549 from South Brittany was very similar to today's cancan, the women danced alone, lifting their dresses up in front and kicking their legs up to the ceiling. The dancers or "High-Kickers" as they were called, emerged over time and ended up in Paris, France. In the late 19th. Century ... Paris was still the dance center of the world.

It was later introduced to England at the Oxford Music Hall sometime in the 1860's by the proprietor Charles Morton who introduced the "Can Can," with a troupe headed by Imre Kiralfy and his brother Bolossy along with their sister Aniola.

    The Can-Can is a hybrid of the Polka and the Quadrille and was said to be first danced in 1822, and by 1830 was being outlawed for a number of years as immoral and indecent and prohibited by the police. It has been said that "Chicard"

$ French Can-Can DVD (1954)

invented the Can-Can, but very doubtful (He more probably named it or choreographed with it). The Can-Can's first American public stage performance (not in a saloon) was in the "Black Crook" at Niblo's Gardens in New York, September 12th., 1866, this production was a milestone in dance and theatre and helped to start Burlesque theatre (the Folies Bergere in France opened in 1869.)

   Originally, the word Can-Can in French meant "Scandal," or "Edge", since they usually danced on the edge of the stage. The Can-Can is said to be the start of public nudity, because of the bare legs above the stockings to the frilly panties, which at the time was very indecent. Eventually the Can Can costume consisted of sporting fishnet stockings, high heels, bustier's, feathers and frilly skirts. The word Burlesque first came into use in the 16th. Century in an opera of the Italian Francesco Berni , who called his works burleschi. American stage burlesque (from 1865), often referred to as "burleycue " or leg show which began as a variety show, characterized by vulgar dialogue and broad comedy, and uninhibited behavior by performers and audience.

   Later the public tolerated the dance and it became very popular around 1830, mainly because the ladies would wear long black dresses and kick their legs up in the air, thus the men could see the knees and legs of the ladies (at the time was Oo-La-La!). The Can Can's popularity lasted till around 1844, after this time the dance mainly was used in revues and musical comedies, especially in France.

   In 1845, La Princesse Celeste de Mogador (Morocco?), Introduced the "Can-Can Eccentrique" at the Bal Mabille, Bal Montesquieu, Bal de la Citb dAntin and the Bal Valentino. At the time it was performed by all walks of life. By 1848, it was frowned upon by the police as being too risqué.

   In the 1890's the Can-Can was done to March and later Ragtime music. The Can-Can was originally a group (Line type) dance done by both sexes with the Tiller Girls and Rockettes as an off shoot of the Can-Can. Leading dancers would eventually perform the Can-Can for audiences. The ballet by Massine (b.1894) was an excellent example of the Can-Can, titled "Gaite' Parisienne" (1938), which later was made into a movie, "The Gay Parisian."

   While both sexes originally danced the Can-Can, now however, the French Can-Can is now danced mainly by women. Most Americans are familiar with the Can-Can as portrayed in many Hollywood Westerns. Michael Jackson can be seen using a variation of the Can-Can in his dance routines (Lifting the Leg and circling it around).

The characteristic movements include:
   1) "Circling the Legs" (lifting one leg and rotating only the lower half, thus forcing the derriere to wobble)
   2) The "Pigeon Wing " (bringing the bust into play by leaping forward, kicking high and throwing the shoulders back while "carrying on the arm" (or holding one leg up against the cheek while hopping lightly on the other leg).
   3) The grand finale (was the splits, generally done from a running start with a yell to the audience).

   The "Kicking Polka" (has a similarity to the Can-Can) was introduced in the "Queen of the Moulin Rouge" and was considered more provocative than the infamous Apache Dance. As a side note: a Guinness record of 8,005 high kicks were performed by Veronica Evans (-Steen), in 4 hours and 40 minutes in London, 1939.


Birth Place

Creation Date

Creator

Dance Type

Paris, France 1822 Chicard Risqué
       

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Click the green arrows to hear a sample

Music Titles

A La Cigale Review Celebrated cancan Dance (1868) Hear a Free Sample Can-Can [MP3]
Betty Boop - Can Can TaRa-Ra-Boom-De-Ay! (1891) Hear a Free Sample Celebrated Can Can Dance, the
Can Can 1   Hear a Free Sample Gaite Parisienne [MP3] (Offenbach)
Can Can 2   Hear a Free Sample La Boutique Fantasque [MP3]
Casino de Paris (4)   Hear a Free Sample Cole Porters Can-Can [Soundtrack CD]
Follies Bergere (6)   Hear a Free Sample Moulin Rouge [Soundtrack CD]
Moulin Rouge   Hear a Free Sample Moulin Rouge [MP3]: Orpheus of the Underworld
Moulin Rouge la revue   Hear a Free Sample Offenbach Can Can [MP3]
Weiluc - Frou-Frou   Hear a Free Sample TaRa-Ra-Boom-De-Ay [MP3]
   
Video Clip Pop Up
Can Can (Perez Prado) song with Video
       
      ~ See: Full Can Can Music List

Night Clubs

Theaters

Locations

1846 - Bal de la Citb dAntin Shubert Theatre (1953) USA
1846 - Bal Mabille Minskoff Theatre (1981) Montmarte - France
1846 - Bal Montesquieu Coliseum Theatre (1954) New Orleans
1846 - Bal Valentino Oxford Dance Hall (1860's) New York
1866 - Niblo's Gardens (N.Y.)       1939 - New York World's Fair (Belles of Old NY, Ann Pennington was the star attarction)
1880's - Moulin Rouge (red windmill) (FR)      
1890's - Gaiety Theater            
1890's - Bird Cage Theatre (AZ)            
1938 - International Casino (N.Y.)            
1958 - Follies Bergere (Folies Legeres)            
1940's - Casino de Paris            
1950's - Latin Quarter (NY)            
1950's - Lido Club            
1950's - Moulin Rouge (Vegas)            
1950's - Golden Horseshoe (Disneyland)            
Prado's - ?            

Video Clips (pop-up)

Films / Movies

Publications

Stage

Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1898 - Can-Can (Mlle. Fraidora) 1900s - Le Frou Frou Magazine 1868/09 - The Black Crook
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1898 - French Can-Can 11/28/1938 - Life Magazine 1890 - The Creole Show
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1899 - Cancan in the Klondike 7/1953 - Music Views Vol. XI, No. 7 1919 - Boutique Fantasque
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1902 - Impromptu Girls Dancing Can-Can 7/1959 - The Dude, v3.n6 1937 - Barn Dance
Clip Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1904 - Moulin Rouge Can Can       1938 - Ballet Russe Monte Carlo
Clip Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1939 - Destry Rides Again [DVD]

Video Games (with the Can-Can)

1938 - Gaite Parisienne
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1939 - Montmarte Madness (Short) $ Crazy Taxi 3 (Sega XBOX) 1938 - Three Waltzes
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1939 - Zasa       1930s - Peek-A-Boo Revue
Clip Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1941 - The Gay Parisian (Cyd Charisse)       1953 - Can Can
Clip Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1941 - ¡Ay qué tiempos señor Don Simón!        
Clip Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1943 - Music Hall Can-Can       1954 - Can Can (London)
Clip Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1948 - Del Can-Can al Mambo       1959 - Destry (Clip)
Clip Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1951 - On The Riviera [DVD]       1981 - Can Can Revival
Clip Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1952 - Moulin Rouge [DVD]       1988 - Chita Rivera's Can Can (Clip)
Clip Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1953 - Can Can Follies (Burlesque)       1999 - Paris Paradise (Italy)
Clip Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1953 - Peek-A-Boo (Burlesque)        
Clip Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1953 - House Of Wax [DVD]        
Clip Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1953 - Ma and Pa Kettle: On Vacation [DVD]        
Clip Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1954 - French Can-Can [DVD]        
Clip Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1954 - The Gaite Parisian [DVD] (Tamara Toumanova)

Television

 
Clip Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1954 - Varietease (Burlesque - Wallens) [DVD] Raggedy Ann & Andy: Babette & the Pirates (Clip)  
Clip Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1955 - Drop The Curtain 1966 - German TV Show (see top clip)  
Clip Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1959 - Jack the Ripper [DVD] 1968 - Canzonissima (Mina) (Clip)  
Clip Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1960 - Can-Can (Gwerdon/MacLain) [DVD]        
Clip Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1965 - Carry On Cowboy [DVD]        
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1982 - Victor Victoria [DVD]        
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1990 - Mr. & Mrs. Bridge? [DVD]        
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1995 - Victor Victoria [DVD] (broadway)        
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 2001 - Moulin Rouge [DVD | Espanol)        

Associated Dances ...

Apache Danse du Ventre Pistolets Stride Dancers
Ballet De Jambe Polka Swing Can Can (1938-Daniels)
Buck and Wing Kick and Tap Quadrille Triori
Burlesque March Risqué      
Can-Can Eccentrique Peek A Boo rond de Jambe en l'air      
Chahut Pigeon Wing Sardana      

Can Can Dancers, Choreographers etc.

1822 - Chicard 1939 - Veronica Evens - Steen Grille d'Egout
1845 - Celeste de Mogador 1943 - Nina Popova-Orloff Hermes Pan
1850 - Morlacchi & Bartholomew 1942 - Gertruda Svobodina-Tyven Juliet Prowse
1860's - Imre, Bolossy and Aniola Kiralfy 1951 - Madame Avila's Can Can Girls La Balucheuse
1875 - Le Goulue (revived Can-Can) 1953 - Gwen Verdon Jane Avril
1890s - Miss Sylvia Gray 1953 - Michael Kidd Lydia Thompson
1898 - Mlle. Fraidora 1954 - Gillian Lynne (Can-Can Play) Miss Florence Levy
1919 - Leonide Massine Dancers Claudette Colbert Nini Pattes (en-l'air)
1919 - Alexandra Danilova Shirley MacLaine Rigol Boche
1919 - Tamara Karsavina Billy Daniels Rose Ponpon
1925 - Vera Nemtchinova Dorothy Dayton Twinnie Wallens (Stripper)
1938 - Lubov Roundenko Finette Sharet Valentin le Desosse
-

Cole Porter's - 1953 Can Can Musical dancers...

1953 - Gwen Verdon Ralph Beaumont Michael De Marco
Meredith Baylis Socrates Birsky Shelah Hackett
Ina Hahn Dania Krupska Al Lanti
Vera Lee Bert May Tom Panko
Arthur Partington Eddie Phillips Michael Scrittorale
Beverly Tassoni Pat Turner Ruth Vernon
Deedee Wood    

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...

Title

Author

Date Published

Publisher

Dance Encyclopedia Chujoy, Antone 1949 A.S. Barnes
The Innocents Abroad Twain, Mark 1911 Grosset & Duynlap
Modern Dancing and Dancers Flitch, J. E. Crawford 1912 J. B. Lippincott Company
The Dancing Times (article about League of Notions) 5/1921  

Writers / Musicians

Artists

Song Writers

Henry Sayers (1891) Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec 2/1/1851- International magazine of literature, art, & science - V. 2, I-3
$ Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880) Weiluc (1900)
J. Knight     5/13/1893 - Truth Magazine
          2/1938 - Stage Magazine
          3/1953- Dance Magazine

Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

Aurrescu Catatonian's Fin-desiecle Moulin Rouge
Can-Can Parfume by Caron Corp.!-1938 Danse du Ventre High Kickers Sardana
Kan Kan (Kan-Kan)    

Other...

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