The cancan dance comes from 1800s Paris, where it caused a sensation and went through several incarnations. Although it was originally a dance for couples, it became known as a provocative dance performed by women in a chorus line.
Traditional cancan outfits consist of black and red corsets with long skirts and layers of ruffled petticoat and bloomers underneath. The cancan dance moves include high kicks that show off the dancers' legs, which are usually clad in black stockings and garters.
Modern versions often have much shorter skirts, and play up the sexy burlesque image with high heels.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Feathers or headdress
- Corset or bustier
- Skirt with petticoat
- Stockings and garter belt
- High heels
Look through your wardrobe to see if you have any of the necessary pieces before you make or buy anything.
Purchase a fitted corset or bodice, as these are difficult to make. Higher quality corsets will fit better and be more comfortable.
Sew pieces of lace onto the corset along the top and bottom, if desired.
Purchase a pattern for a traditional petticoat and make it out of white fabric or match it to the colours of the rest of your outfit. You can also buy one online or at some lingerie shops.
Determine the length you would like your skirt to be. You can buy complex patterns with bows and ribbons, and you can also purchase a simple skirt to go over your petticoat.
Get a pair of bloomers to wear underneath the corset and the skirt. These are relatively easy to make from patterns found online. White cotton is traditional but you can use silk or satin for a more luxurious feel, and you can match the bloomers to your petticoats and skirt.
Purchase black stockings, with or without a pattern, and wear with black garters and high heels.
Find a feather headdress, or simply wear a headband with a few large feathers glued upright onto it. You can also glue feathers to a clip and wear it at the back of your head.
Complete the look with red lipstick, rouge, mascara and dark eyeliner.
Tips and warnings
- Although traditional cancan costumes are red and black, modern versions come in all colours.
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