The names behind the cancan — Collective Culture — Culture Collective.
Think of ‘classical music or dance’ is so broad as to think of ‘Asia’ or ‘Christianity’. If the expression is used without reference to the period of classical music (1750 and 1820) and yes to what is considered ‘cultured music and dance’, then many names would not enter the list of ‘great’, making it, in exclusionary and narrow category.
But this bias is not new in the history of music, along with tools, parts, melodies and staves, many names have been lost in the memories of the time. However, some rhythms, characters and objects have broken through the chronological barriers to sneaking collective unconscious-conscious to join the popular and cultural imagination of many.
One of the great public secrets, so to call it, of the musical history of the nineteenth century is certainly the case of the characters of the cancan. Monsieur Offenbach (Jacques Offenbach) is a name that most likely most do not remember hearing even delving into the recesses of memory, however, if they know the cancan, the exotic dancers legs in the air and lifted skirts, viewed the movie Moulin Rouge or one of thousands of television episodes that allude to this sensual rhythm, then you almost certainly have heard the music of Offenbach.
The unmistakable song that relates to mind the rapid movement of skirts, arms and legs on stage, dancing women, feathers, cabaret and glamorous parties of fin de siecle and early twentieth century is the most popular work of Offenbach.
What is mistakenly called ‘The cancan’, referring to the melody, is the galop end of Orpheus in the Underworld , German operetta composer naturalized French during the Second French Empire. In the original operetta, this part was accompanied by a scene in which the Olympian gods indulged to excess and did a bacchanal in the problems he forgot and were partying all night. The same cancan dancing represented the late nineteenth century Paris.
Parisian nightlife venues halls were the most fabulous gatherings in them emblematic figures of the time to discuss issues of art, literature, philosophy, politics and endless wonders, always accompanied by alcohol, absinthe and how services would be gathered. But the real stars in the halls were always the cancan dancers, who in time with the notes of the infernal galop nightly became divas of the underworld, demonstrating his talent and sensuality by raising your legs while doing unimaginable stunts. His moral flexibility was almost as wide as the physical.
Along with the name Offenbach, would have to rescue figures like Jane Avril, redhead sexy muse de Toulouse-Lautrec, La Goulue, model and crush all the artists of the time; Môme Fromage and Eglantine, teachers and iconic figures cancan scene, among others. All of them, media celebrity dancers, stage and Parisian streets. Their faces have been immortalized in prints, paintings, photographs, prints and drawings, leaving traces of fame enjoyed in its glory days.
Currently the cancan has come as a vague and quaint memory of La Belle Époque , a time in which the prosperity and progress were everything, therefore, this rate slipped between centuries and even today’s popular shows around the cancan world. However, the figures that shaped the aesthetics, tradition and the basics of this wonderful, challenging, daring and fun rhythm have been slowly forgetting, erasing more and more of the general memory.
But despite this involuntary amnesia whenever they sing the infernal galop , skirts lifted in teaching circles leg, or a costume party or cabaret is done, they will all be present, each, making the ‘music and cultured dance ‘a rich and entertaining popular expression that transcends chronological, geographical, social and moral barriers, taking in the collective imagination. Because They actually can can .
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