1870 Courier & Argus

Monday, 7th November.



   I suppose I need not remind my readers, says the Figaro, that the Can-Can, except at the King’s Cross Theatre, has never been danced in this country at all. The bat-like old magistrates and the clod-hopping policemen have got some jargon into their heads, and – dear, stupid old creatures! – imagine that to dance the Can-Can means to throw up the legs in a dance. It means nothing of the kind. It means a quadrille danced by men and women in ordinary costume – the men wearing everyday attire and the women ordinary walking-dress – who indulge in all kinds of outrageous antics. The dancing of the Can-Can at Mabille and elsewhere was considered so outré some five-and-twenty years ago that gens d’armes were placed in the dancing gardens to preserve order. While the protectors of order were looking on, all was discreet and modest, but, if they turned away their heads for half a second, the girls indulged in an extravagant gesture, which invariably caused a roar. The cleverest trick of the cleverest dancer was, in the half-second during which the gen d’arme was looking away, to fling up her leg and knock somebody’s hat off. The trick was popular, and was soon imitated. How often have I seen a gawky and stupid-looking Englishman watching what appeared to be a modest quadrille, when, all of a sudden, up went the leg of a fair one in his immediate vicinity, and off went his hat or spectacles. A Can-Can in short petticoats or ballet dress is an absurdity. There is no trick in it, no art, and no meaning. Finette, Esther Austin, Colonna, and the whole pack of these popular ladies, did not attempt the Can-Can.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 22 September 2009 19:54 )