The Cancan: From Paris to the Klondike Gold Rush

The Legacy of the Klondike Cancan

The cancan that began as an 1830s dance craze in Paris was a direct revolt against the rules imposed by men, society, press, clergy and narrow-minded citizens. From the beginning the cancan was a statement, and it became a symbolic statement through the various revolutions and movements from that point forward. As the great cancan …

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The Cancan Arrives at the Klondike Gold Rush

On November 28, 1891, the New York Sun dedicated a full page to the cancan. Titled “Eccentric Paris Dance,” the article highlights Paris cancan stars of the day who describe intricate cancan dance moves. After the two decades of being attacked in the press by misogynist newspaper editors and pious moral reformers, the Sun article …

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Can You Do the Cancan, Kate?

During the 1890s, the United States was a melting pot of entertainment – and vaudeville became the perfect vehicle to showcase this wealth of diversity. From New York to Victoria, B.C., vaudeville reigned supreme as the most popular entertainment in every city and many small towns. The key to vaudeville’s success was that it allowed …

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The Cancan Under Arrest

Appearing nightly in vaudeville, burlesque, ballets and operas, on tiny rustic stages of the Wild West mining camps and in the frontier theatres of the Pacific Coast, by the 1870s the cancan was in North America to stay. When the cancan first became a part of the entertainment fabric, it was celebrated in newspaper reviews …

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Delightful Devilry: The Cancan Invades New York

Although the cancan made its North American debut with Offenbach’s opera Orpheus of the Underworld in 1861, it wasn’t until it appeared in the first American musical that the cancan became a true phenomenon in North America. In 1866 Henry C. Jarrett and Harry Palmer imported a large group of Parisian dancers to perform the …

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The dance craze with a kick!

In her book “DANCING” Lilly Grove describes the invention of the chahut which evolved into the cancan.   “About 1830, a stage dancer called Mazarie played the part of a monkey in the Theatre de la Porte St. Martin.  He invented for the occasion a figure dance which he called ‘chahut,’ which surpassed in its …

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The Laundress and the Kick

Although women of Paris played an integral role in the French Revolution, once the dust settled they were given a stern message by the new men in power: Stay home, tend to the children and leave the important business of governing to us. By 1825, the post-revolution preoccupation of keeping women in their place was …

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