Thursday, July 5, 2012

1970s vintage grannies dress up to dance

What to wear for the grannies' dance in the next Crows Feet Dance Collective show?

Six of the dancers are grandmothers and we are rehearsing an emotional dance to the song You are so beautiful.

We have to find our own costumes, vaguely 1970s vintage (like us), vaguely homogeneous (not like us), and totally liberating for dancing. That means not too heavy, not too tight, not too revealing, and able to accommodate kicks and deep knee bends.

Sally's lovely long dress in blues and greens is a foundation garment (joke) that has established a theme.

Yesterday I hunted through a few second hand shops. Rather than buy a dress on spec and crossing my fingers that it would blend with the others, I tried on the contenders and snapped them with my trusty iPhone.

Verdict: green dress from Polly's in Elizabeth Street is go. Everyone agrees.

I took some ghastly photos, but found that raising a leg improved my appearance considerably.

But I must also describe the weird experience of trying on a genuine 1970s Laura Ashley dress. High neck, big sleeves, dainty blue flowery Liberty print cotton fabric, waist, voluminous skirt.

I saw in the mirror an alien creature from a parallel universe—a sweet lady who never swears but runs through fields of daisies with tendrils of curly blond hair wafting behind in the wind. Butterflies flutter around my head. Bluebirds tweet. Three handsome princes are rivals for my hand.

Note that I am all blurry in this photo—you see me through a Vaselined lens, like Doris Day. I am probably going to die young, I'm just so pretty and quaint.

The Laura Ashley dress was yukky. I experienced a strong urge to vomit.

In the 1970s we were flat out doing wild stuff—fighting in the women's movement, recklessly travelling the world—wearing hippie gear, not aprons.

We did not dedicate our days to picking flowers and polishing the silver. We were reinventing ourselves.

And not as little Bo-Peep.

What were they thinking? In retrospect, the Laura Ashley craze looks like a patriarchal plot to lure us back into the kitchen.

Come to our new show: Sea of love: Songs of the 60s and 70s