cancan kănˈkăn [key], a lively French dance marked chiefly by high kicking. It was developed in Paris in the 1830s and became a popular social dance there. By the mid-19th cent. it was incorporated into dance revues and stage productions. Jacques Offenbach wrote the best-known cancan music. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec made celebrated paintings and lithographs of famous cancan dancers.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Dance