Thursday, September 17, 2009

Shall We Can-Can, Girls?

Moulin Rouge - in Montmartre , center of Paris' night life

Well then, skirts up, legs up (revealing the underwear ), high kicking, provocative movements of the body , black stockings, hats with feathers - following the music of Offenbach's Gallop Infernal from 'Orpheus in the Underworld' - that's can-can.

The legendary Moulin-Rouge Cabaret, marked by a red mill on its roof , located in Paris-Montmartre ,was inaugurated in October 1889 offering, to this day, extravagant shows mixing circus, dance, theater, music-hall. The basic concept of the show is based on fabulous settings, original music and ...beautiful girls. This cabaret has played host to many celebrities: Edith Piaf, Yves Montand, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzerald, Elton John, Liza Minelli etc.. By the way, one is not allowed entrance to the show if dressed in casual garments.

Moulin-Rouge ( French for red windmill) became the most famous cabaret in the world , to a great extent, due to the 'can-can' dance
performed on its stage in chorus line style . The can-can was viewed, especially in its very beginnings, as vulgar, indecent, scandalous, decadent and erotic, meant to sexually arouse the male audience.
(It should be mentioned that this dance was the basis for the 1960 musical film "Can-Can" starring Frank Sinatra and Shirley McLaine).

I once joined a can-can workout course (the other options were folk dancing and belly dancing). Can-Can does wonders to the body; the dance is very demanding and exhausting physically , but the fun is great and it's an excellent way of keeping fit.

The workout took place in a vast hall, doors closed, and yet people from outside this hall managed somehow to peep into what was going on inside.
One day, after workout, I entered the cafeteria and a guy addressed me with : 'I thought you were supposed to wear white panties not beige ones'. Cheeky. I was furious, but I kept calm and said to him in a very cool voice: 'The beige you saw, was the colour of the skin; to your information we were wearing no panties at all'- and left him speechless; ha, ha , ha.


  1. The famous Can-Can! It seems decidedly innocent these days for something once thought so racy. "Look! Frilly Bloomers!" The video you attached reminded me of some artwork I saw long ago for "Little Miss Muffet". What a nice memory to have in my head, first thing in the morning. Thank you.

    The internet really is a fascinating place, and so are blogs. I'm only through my first cup of Coffee and Philip's shown me Bumble Bees at Mellerstain, and you've taken me to Paris.

    What a lovely way to spend the first hour of a day. Thank you, DUTA. Have a lovely day.

  2. I did not know that about the Moulin Rouge! Thanks for sharing!

  3. When were you there, Duta? I went between 8th and 9th grade, around age 14...hmmm 1962? A trip with my dad, stepmother, and grandmother. We went to the Moulin Rouge, and my grandmother felt it was totally inappropriate to have let me go! Afterwards my dad and I walked around that neighborhood, and a man made a pass at me right in front of him ... thinking he was my pimp or john I guess! I've never forgotten that-don't know if I was more embarrassed or flattered! Anyway, love the image of ladies in the can-can class (must be hard on the knees!), and the video - how in the world did you find it? (Oh, I guess you googled it, huh?)

  4. When I was very young and the can-can and penny loafers were the style I would close myself in the bedroom and pile on the can-cans and dance. I was an only child for almost nine years and had to create my own entertainment.

    Thank you so much for sharing your travels with this simple (HA!) farm chick. Enjoy your day!!!

  5. Oh, this was such a great blog, Duta, and off I went for an enjoyable hour's wander through YouTube's offering of all the other cancan vids. But you chose one of the best ones: very few had the fire, passion and wildness that a troop of true can can dancers brings to the dance. A very happy and entertaining hour, and thanks for giving that to me.

  6. You sure get around Duta. And that was a great video.

    Loved your riposte to the peeping Tom type at your can can dance class! Classic.

    Jose Ferrer played Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in "Moulin Rouge" - which I've seen a couple of times. That was a good Hollywood attempt at the history of Lautrec and his work at the Moulin Rouge.

  7. This is the way I like to get a history lesson, with humor and pictures. Very interesting.


  8. Love it! The can-can is so exciting to watch. Thanks for sharing, Duta!

  9. Great fun! I totally love your comeback - I can't think that fast in the moment.

  10. Land of Shimp,

    I agree with every word of yours, especially with those about internet and blogs - fascinating places.
    Have a lovely day too.

  11. B,

    I'm glad you know about it now. This cabaret holds a special place in the french and international entertaining world.

  12. Wander to the Wayside,

    Well, it's hardly a place for a 14 year old girl. The shows are very extravagant and the costumes and performances of the girls on stage are not exactly educational.
    What happened to you is not unusual as the place is the center of the city's night- life and all kinds of dubious men are after young girls.

  13. Nezzy,

    Well, it appears you had initiative and creative skills from a very young age.
    Enjoy your day too!

  14. Vera,

    I'm very glad you enjoyed the post. Indeed, it's not always easy to choose the right youtube video . In this case, I wanted the classic version of the can-can dance and not some modern one.

  15. PhilipH,

    Thanks for mentioning Toulouse- Lautrec. This painter was one of the more famous visitors of the cabaret and he painted some well-known paintings of the can-can dancers and of scenes from Moulin Rouge.

  16. Someone's Mom,

    Thanks. I'm glad you find the post interesting and informative, among other things due to pictures and a bit of humour.

  17. TheChicGeek,

    Thanks Kelly for the encouragement.

  18. Janie B,

    You're welcome. That's the classic can-can. YouTube offers also videos of more modern versions of the dance.

  19. The Bug,

    Fun indeed: the can-can, the workout, after workout.. Thanks for your comment.

  20. Lisa,

    I'm very flattered by Jamie's joining my 'followers'. She has probably heard about me from you, so both mother and daughter honored me and for that I thank you both and wish you the very Best.

  21. I didn't know the Moulin Rouge was a real place, and still there! What an amazing pice of history.

    I always thought the can-can was very risque for its time! I can see how you would need to be fit to do it.

  22. Helena,

    Welcome to my blog, and thank you for the comment.
    Moulin Rouge is indeed "an amazing piece of history" , and the can-can dance - not quite an innocent dance.

  23. Fun story and great video! Another place I would love to visit!

  24. Arika,

    I'm glad to hear from you. Thanks for your kind comment.

  25. Hi Duta,
    Great story, love the comeback to the creep! I've never seen the movie Moulin Rouge, so I didn't even know what it was about or that it really exists. Thanks for sharing this with us. Love the video, that must be terrific exercise. I love when they high kick his hat...very cool!

    Thanks for visiting my site and I'm sorry the link to stumbleupon didn't work, not sure what went wrong. But you can always go to

  26. When the girl lifts up her one leg by using her hand on her foot? I can do that!

    >For five bucks, I'll lettcha' watch. Heh,heh.

    GREAT BLOG! I am so excited to read you!

  27. Alicia,

    Always glad to read your comments and to learn that you like the contents of my post.
    Have a wonderful day!

  28. Entrepeneur Chick,

    Hi, Welcome to my blog! I like your humor .
    Thanks for feeling excited to read my posts.

  29. Nice post! What an aerobic workout it must have been in those costumes and heels, I love watching can-can dancers, because I can-can-not.

  30. Angelina,

    The costumes for workout were much simplified. Afer all, we were not going to appear in some show and impress an audience. The goal was to exercise all the body parts.

  31. Duta
    What a fun way to stay in shape. Great responds to the cheeky fellow. Peace

  32. Lady Di Tn,

    Yeah,funny way indeed. I think, all sorts of dancing are a funny and effecive way to stay in shape. Can-Can , though, is for the younger ones as it is very demanding.

    Have a nice, peaceful day and week!

  33. Hi Duta
    I'm a little late reading this post, but nevertheless you made me laugh. No panties at all! Ha! I wish I was quick with a come-back like that sometimes!

  34. Dimple,

    There's no "late" reading or as they say "better late than never".
    Thanks for your comment; I'm glad my "come-back" made you laugh.