In 1845 the Can-can was danced by soloists or chorus, and was a less artistic version of the polka, in which the whole intention was to display the legs in a series of leaps, kicks and splits..more often than not, without knickers. The dance was very popular in France, except with moralists, who not only objected to the girls showing their frothy knickers, but objected more to the fact that the dance appeared to create more interest from the men in the audience. It was thought that the dance was a prelude to whoring. Postitutes where often in attendance and rented rooms as close as possible to the exits of the clubs to capitalize on the aroused customer.
Only in paintings and drawings of the time gave the real impression of the gaiety and excitement of the Can-Can. The few early photos that existed have only the strain and tension of the girls having to adopt the pose and hold it as the photos were taken before the cameras shutter speed was fast enough to be able to catch them in the real bouncing of the dance.