The Can-Can was a particularly scandalous dance in the 19th century because women wore pantalettes, which had an open crotch, and the high kicks were intentionally revealing.

Can-can

For other uses, see Can-can (disambiguation).

Depiction of the can-can by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1895

The can-can (also spelled cancan as in the original French /kɑ̃kɑ̃/) is a high-energy, physically demanding dance that became a popular music-hall dance in the 1840s, continuing in popularity in French cabaret to this day. Originally danced by both genders, it is now traditionally associated with a chorus line of female dancers. The main features of the dance are the vigorous manipulation of skirts and petticoats, along with high kicks, splits, and cartwheels.

History

Georges Seurat, 1889–90, Le Chahut, oil on canvas, 170 × 141 cm, Kröller-Müller Museum

Toulouse-Lautrec, Jane Avril Dancing

The can-can is believed… Continue Reading (6 minute read)

9 thoughts on “The Can-Can was a particularly scandalous dance in the 19th century because women wore pantalettes, which had an open crotch, and the high kicks were intentionally revealing.”

  1. UndoingMonkey

    “The early can-can dancers were probably prostitutes” lol

  2. Emmyfishnappa

    Was watching Moulin Rouge! and stumbled upon this piece of trivia, which really changed the image of this dance for me. Apparently it ruined the whole thing for my wife who now won’t speak to me because I have now ruined such a delightful dance for her.

  3. Linvael

    For 19th century standards high kicks showing undergarments would be enough to be named scandalous (like every dance that pushed the boundry even a little bit, like waltz, toddle, etc). Showing your crotch would still classify as scandalous today. They were extra scandalous back than.

  4. Urist_Macnme

    But also, the high kicks were often used to kick particularly grabby patrons. It was quite an aggressive dance

  5. ViroTechnica

    It was like a tidal wave that swept through Parisian culture for 30 years.

  6. Getupxkid

    CAN CAN CAN YOU DO THE CAN CAN WHILE SITTING ON THE CAN CAN?

  7. kheltar

    What’s the difference between a magician and a chorus line?

    One has a cunning array of stunts!

  8. BadAdviceHarry

    That’s a whole lot of French bush!

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