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I recently expanded this article from a stub. I wrote a book on the cancan, published in 1998, entitled Cancan!. If you'd like to discuss it with me (or if you want to get hold of a copy), please email me on

David Price

  • You wrote a book on the Can Can? That's weird. TheImpossibleMan 18:11, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

Will anyone cover other meanings of Can-Can? Mikkalai 17:55, 12 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Not another meaning, but I always though Irving Berlin's 2nd verse was very funny: She started a heat wave By letting her seat wave In such a way that The customers say that She certainly can can-can —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:30, 4 February 2009 (UTC)


Also, DDR Extreme Revolution featured a song that was a jazzed-up version of the can-can called "Kick the Can". I haven't found anywhere to put this fact in this article, though. Bibliomaniac15 04:52, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

But the can-can is a dance, not a song. (talk) 23:18, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

I have tried to cover another meaning of the word "Cancan" in "origins" part of the text, as a man whose family is named after this word. I hope that it would be satisfactory. ==Drsecancan== 16:16 14 apr 2006 Istnb.


I herd that the Can Can was ironically came from England only to be made famous in France like Champagne. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:41, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

Lack of underwear?[edit]

I've been told that what made can-can special was the fact that the women dancing it did not wear any underwear, so when performing the intricate dance routines, the audience could see everything (this might be hinted at in the article where it says the opportunity for individuals to display their "specialities"). Sometimes, it was a form of advertisement for prostitutes in a brothel, a way of showing the goods for clients to be able to choose. This might not be entirely accurate, but, if it is, I think it should be more obvious to a reader than the aforementioned quote, seeing as how this is categorized as a sexually-related article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:25, 8 July 2008 (UTC)


"by the late 1860s, it was considered extremely inappropriate,[1] and in the early 20th century downright erotic.[2] When the dance initiated in the late 19th century, it was considered little more than a scandalous thing for youngsters,[citation needed] similar to how rock and roll would be perceived later on."

I suggest this needs to be restructured by someone who knows the history. On the one hand, it says that the dance was inappropriate and downright erotic, but in the middle of that period (late 19th century) it wasn't? I see that this might be an unusual shift, but it needs to be structured to indicate that. As is, it looks as though it contradicts itself. Also, it references the dance in the 1860s, then goes to say "initiated in the late 19th century", which is a bit later than the late 1860s. All around, it seems to be confusing and contradictory. I'm sure there's a rational reading but I'm not seeing it, so I suspect others won't either. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:11, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Comment from original author of article[edit]

I wrote the original article on the cancan (having done extensive research on the dance for a book) but it has been edited since and it seems has become a little confusing.

It is a myth that the cancan was frequently danced without drawers when it became an entertainment (from the Second Empire onwards), rather than a participatory dance. But when it was originally danced in the 1830s, women didn't normally wear drawers; only with the advent of the crinoline, which tended to be more revealing, did drawers become a standard item of underwear. In fact, paradoxically, it was prostitutes who normally wore drawers, and so "respectable" women avoided such an item of clothing. Inevitably, therefore, when the cancan was danced by the working class women (and men) in dance halls in 1830s Paris, occasionally it was quite revealing – although it's important to remember that at this time, there was none of the skirt manipulation that was later to become essential to the dance. High kicks yes, but not lifting up skirts and shaking them about. Another aspect of 19th-century underwear that gave rise to the myth of the cancan without drawers is that the drawers were often not stitched together between the legs. At the Moulin Rouge, there was a strict policy to make sure such "open" drawers were not worn by the dancers.

When I wrote about "specialities", this was in reference to the acrobatic movements by professional dancers in the 1920s and later, and had nothing to do with lack of underwear. Yes, the cancan in brothels was often danced without drawers - probably still is. For me, one of the essential features of the cancan is its glorification of late-Victorian/early Edwardian underwear, and so without it, the dance rather loses some of its appeal.

The Victorian/Edwardian extravagance of underwear and black stockings also add to the cancan's erotic appeal, as does lifting up the skirts, which didn't really become a feature until the later part of the century – earlier, women used to gather their skirts over one arm to allow them to kick their legs up. But the level of eroticism is all a matter of opinion. In the mid-19th century, when the dance took hold as entertainment, it was essentially prostitutes, courtesans, who were the performers. So it could be seen as a form of advertising. Later in the century, professional dancers appeared, but arguably the dance was now more erotic even though the performers were not "for sale". —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sphinx321 (talkcontribs) 11:20, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

That's weird. Just kidding. I love the music. I'm going to learn to play it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:19, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, but your logic here is not convincing. You keep mentioning "Myth" while repeatedly stating that the dance was performed without underwear at earlier times. You also admit that prostitutes regularly performed the dance and may have used it as "advertising". In the face of all this, one single ban on open crotch dancing in the Moulin Rouge seems hardly enough to confirm a myth. The very fact that this establishment decided to explicitly ban such a display could even be considered evidence that it was danced open crotch in other establishments. (talk) 13:46, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
The use of crotchless panties in not a myth. Though, I don't have a list of refs to post at the moment (although, other — physical — evidence, I do have that). — al-Shimoni (talk) 10:04, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

Use on television[edit]

As a child, I can clearly remember this song as part of the TV series (cartoon / animated) about a large arm (with rocket) that would come to the aid of a boy. Anyone know the name of this TV series, please? --Bmoshier (talk) 13:30, 18 August 2017 (UTC)

"Can can is used on loin King 1/2"[edit]

This needs revision, but I don't understand the reference and so will leave it to someone else. –Roy McCoy (talk) 18:53, 2 December 2019 (UTC)