Cancan!

David Price's book Cancan!

Reviews

From The Dancing Times, February 2011 (see the Dancing Times website here)

"Everything you ever wanted to know about the cancan and more, from its origins in the ballroom galop via the improvised dance of the working-class dance halls and carnival balls of Second Empire Paris to the scandalous spectacle of the 1890s and on to today's more formal, choreographed version....
The strength of Cancan! lies in Price's consideration not just of the cancan itself, but the cancan as an expression of the historical and cultural worlds in which it developed and flourished...
His enthusiasm is infectious, but it does not get in the way of a measured and logical scrutiny of the history of the dance and the mythology that has grown up around it and its performers.
Another strength of the book lies in the fascinating illustrations, which include photographs, prints, newspaper illustrations, cartoons, drawing and paintings..." 

 

From Amazon UK:

"This is a fantastic book, not just to learn about the origins, history and current incarnations of the cancan, but to gain a real insight into the changing social attitudes it has run alongside.
It's full of interesting well researched factual information, as well as lots of lovely pictures and insights from the dancers themselves.
It is intelligent without being over wordy, and the layout with so many pictures gives it a slightly magazine like feel, which will make it easy for even the most bookshy to read.
I really like the cover too!
I'll be buying it for many a Christmas present this year"

 

From the Yahoo! group cancanfavorites:

"This is the book on the cancan, covering all aspects of the dance in a
delightfully readable way, while not sacrificing historical accuracy.
David has made a detailed study of the cancan as it has evolved through
the years from its shadowy beginnings as a strictly amateur
participatory dance in which men dominated, to its development by the
earliest female practitioners of the art, through the Second Empire to
its flowering as an entertainment in the Belle Époque. The story
continues with the evolution of the cancan in the Twenties into the form
we know it today, through the Twentieth Century to the present day.

The book covers the treatment of the cancan as a dance, of course, but
also in art, on the stage, in film and in amateur participatory settings
too. The dramatis personae of the cancan are all here from Celeste
Mogador, Finette and Rigolboche, to La Goulue, Jane Avril, Grille
d'Egout and Nini-Patte-en-l'Air, all the way to present day dancers.
David gives us a tour of the famous and not so famous venues where the
cancan was performed - the Bal Mabille, the Moulin Rouge, the Bal
Tabarin and a dozen more you've either not heard of or barely heard
mentioned. He follows the ups and downs of the cancan's popularity
through its life as an art form. He shows how it has survived prudes,
Prussians and the politically correct, to re-emerge to delight and
excite new generations of dancers and audiences. The book also includes
a number of entertaining and informative sidebars full of interesting
facts about the cancan, and it dispels a number of myths and
misconceptions (for example, sans culottes performances were largely,
but not entirely, an urban legend - it depended upon when and where you
saw it performed). As befits an authoritative book, it contains an
extensive bibliography, a good index and a list of websites of interest

The second edition has been enlivened by the addition of numerous photos
of dancers, including those of a number of currently active dance
groups, and includes a new section devoted to giving a view of the dance
from a performer's perspective. One thing that emerges is that it is as
exhilarating for the performers as for the audience. Maybe that accounts
for its durability.

If you are fan of the cancan or just curious about it, you can't find a
better source. You can enjoy it as a read, as a reference book, a
picture book, and as a nice conversation piece for your coffee table, or
you can give it as a present for someone who would enjoy it. It's
definitely worth the fairly modest price."

 

 

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