LE CORANCAN. Sprechende Beine

Author(s): Kiefer, Klaus H.


Using body and apparel language, Nick Walker‘s graffito LE CORANCAN tackles the subject of ›loi anti-burqa‹ in France in 2010. It shows women dancers masked with niqabs, swinging their legs in the French cancan fashion, dis-playing their underwear made of the French national flag colours. The splayed ›natural‹ legs, stretching from either side of the focus, straddle the opposing cultures. Do they integrate or do they separate these? Is the visual sexuality of the Muslim ladies a threat or is it an emancipatory unveiling? – Nick Walker just lets the symbols dance. He couples the elementary stimulus-and-reaction pattern of sexual copulation with ideological questions, thus linking the mind to the origin of the cancan. This developed from anarchistic entertainment of the ordinary people (traceable to primitive tribal dances) to the ›infernal final gallop‹ in Offenbach’s Orphée aux enfers and then to the voyeuristic amusement of the decadent bourgeois in the Moulin Rouge. – The most typical element of the cancan is what is known in German as the ›Stech-schritt‹, literally: ›stab step‹, but ›goose step‹ in English and ›pas de l’oie‹ in French. The last two expressions both refer not only to the swinging of the stretched leg that imitates anatomically the pace of a goose and a duck but also indicate the etymological derivation from the French child word ›cancan‹ – for ›canard‹ (Fr. duck). As a mixture of Monty Python humour, sexual conno-tation and military aesthetics the prostituting gesture still causes excitement in front of an alpha male-audience – or one that considers itself as such.

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Preferred Citation
Kiefer, Klaus H.: LE CORANCAN. Sprechende Beine. In: IMAGE. Zeitschrift für interdisziplinäre Bildwissenschaft, Jg. 8 (2012), Nr. 2, S. 103-121. DOI:
 author = {Kiefer, Klaus H.},
 title = {LE CORANCAN. Sprechende Beine},
 year = 2012,
 doi = "\url{}",
 volume = 8,
 address = {Köln},
 journal = {IMAGE. Zeitschrift für interdisziplinäre Bildwissenschaft},
 number = 2,
 pages = {103--121},
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The item has been published with the following license: Unter Urheberrechtsschutz