Today on “Days to Remember” we celebrate the first performance of the opera that took place in Paris France on October 21st 1885, an overture that became famous, beginning with its bristling fanfare, followed by a tender love song, a dramatic passage, a complex waltz, and, finally, the renowned can-can music, but what is the can-can?
The cancan first appeared in the working-class ballrooms of Montparnasse in Paris in around 1830.
The cancan was, therefore, originally a dance for couples, who indulged in high kicks and other gestures with arms and legs. It is thought that they were influenced by the antics of a popular entertainer of the 1820s, Charles Mazurier, who was well known for his acrobatic performances.
The cancan is now considered a part of world dance culture, including sensual dances and often the main feature observed today is how physically demanding and tiring the dance is to perform, but it still retains something of an erotic connotation for many. When the dance first appeared in the early 19th century, it was considered little more than a scandalous activity that young people indulged in, similar to how rock and roll would be perceived later in the 1950s.
Today’s YouTube presentation brought to you by user name, Mark Day Bonus Videos, is small clip of cancan dancers, in a 2013 Edwardian Ball.
Did the cancan dance make anyone famous?
Jane Avril was a French cancan dancer, and was made famous by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec painting of her.
Working at whatever day jobs were available, at night she pursued a career in dancing by performing at local clubs. In 1888, she met the writer René Boylesve who is said to have become quite taken by the beautiful but shy young girl.
Using the stage name Jane Avril, she built a reputation that eventually allowed her to make a living as a full-time dancer. Hired by the Moulin Rouge nightclub in 1889, within a few years she headlined at the Jardin de Paris, one of the major café-concerts on the Champs-Élysées. To advertise the extravaganza, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec painted her portrait on a poster that elevated her stature in the entertainment world even further.
Moulin Rouge is best known as the spiritual birthplace of the modern form of the can-can dance.
Originally introduced as a seductive dance by the courtesans who operated from the site, the can-can dance revue evolved into a form of entertainment of its own and led to the introduction of cabarets across Europe.
Today, the Moulin Rouge is a tourist attraction, offering musical dance entertainment for visitors from around the world; the club’s décor still contains much of the romance of France during that time during the 1800s.
As you kick up your heels today’s story, as remember how on October 21st 1885 the cancan made its public debut!
Written & Designed by JD Mitchell