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CanCan Costume Dresses

Updated on June 25, 2012

Join the chorus line with some great high-kicking cancan costume dresses.

CanCan, the dance that shocked conservative Paris in the 1800s, before spreadng to the rest of the world, involves some moves that were considered to be risque in those days.

No-one would bat an eyelid now except to think you'd have to be pretty fit to kick so high, but in those days it was considered daring.

By the mid 18th century, cancan had become much more mainstream with music hall shows drawing in huge crowds.

The dresses the cancan dancers wore also became more focussed on the erotic aspect of the dance, with more spectacular underwear being worn, designed specially for the girls to display them to the audience.

Even today, the style of dresses worn by cancan girls have not changed.

Cancan costume dress
Cancan costume dress

Adult Can-Can Cutie Costume

Cancan dresses are still in old-style - with lots of frills, ankle-length at the back, and much shorter at the front.

Originally, they would not have been shorter at the front, but no doubt somewhere along the way changes were made to the design to make it easier on the dancing girls.

The cancan is an extremely energetic dance and it takes a lot of energy to be able to high kick your way though a whole dance routine.

Holding on to a heavy dress the whole time would have made it even more difficult.

Cancan dancers are expected to lift up the front of their dresses showing off their underwear, although lots of frills help protect their modesty.

When the cancan became a professional dance in the 1920s, the girls were choreographed to perform 10 minute long routines, while wearing long frilly dresses and black stockings.

The dance was performed by a chorus line of girls, all dancing in synchronization, performing the same steps in the same routine.

How to Dance the CanCan

You need to be incredibly fit to do a full cancan routine which consists of 5 basic moves:

  • the high-kick
  • the cartwheel
  • the ronde de jambe (bouncing on one leg with the other held in a knees up position while the lower leg is rotated)
  • the port d'armes (holding one leg by the ankle vertically and turning at the same time)
  • the grand ├ęcart (a movement ending with doing the splits n the floor)

all done to a quick 2.4 rhythm.

Watch the video below for a demonstration on the dance moves and how it should be done.

Music Hall CanCan video from 1943

Can you CanCan?

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      3 years ago

      This article is oiblousvy very well researched and written. I have found this content to be valuable information presented in a very interesting way. On a scale from 1-10 I'd have to rate this content a 10.


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