Cankan – street dance, which became a visiting card of “Moulin Rouge”

What do you imagine first when you hear about Cancan? Most often, these are attractive women in chic outfits, flapping their feet high with music. Now Kankan is associated with the famous cabaret “Moulin Rouge”, and in fact its origins are taken from the most simple quadrille.


One of the funny versions of the name of the dance is associated with ducks. The French claim that their ducks quack “can-kan”. And as is known, one of the commonly used “pa” is the motion of the dancers waddled each other. Literally “cancan” is translated from French as “noise, din.” Some sources claim that for the first time the cancan in the Moulin Rouge was performed in 1890, but this is not true. The origins of the cancan stretch to the 1820s in the working quarters of Paris. Dancer and acrobat Charles Mazurje added a simple quadrille with his feet. Over time, stockings with garters came into fashion, which were very fond of cankan dancers. It is interesting that after the appearance of this detail in costumes, the dance began to be considered obscene.


For the first time in the cabaret “Moulin Rouge” the cancan was performed during the opening of the bar, and not only the women but also the men performed the dance, who also waved their feet. But, as you understand, women attracted more visitors to the cabaret,  so the men danced not for a long time. The modern cancan means an 8-minute performance. In the dance, legs are used, jumps, twine and other movements, which are only accelerated with every minute. Everyone who will be in the Moulin Rouge is simply obligated to see the famous incendiary dance with his own eyes.



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