Friday, October 10, 2008

Dancing Queens

I think there was an unwritten law in the 1960s requiring female children to take dance classes. Ballet, tap, jazz, Modern, Irish dance, Highland dance...depending on your location you may have been subjected to one or all of these. Sometimes baton twirling was added in for good measure. I speculate that for most of us the classes left no lasting sense of rhythm or any memory of the steps beyind first and second position...but they did leave me with an enduring appreciation for sequins and glitter.

They also generally left us with amusing and/or embarassing photos!

Exhibit A: Mitchellina Ballerina, in a enviable rainbow tutu (note the highly desirable sequin trim!) and beautifully posed studio portrait. Appears to be calculating the apsect ratio of something.

Exhibit B: Yours truly, and my sister Er c.1968. She was taking tap lessons and her recital dance was to the song "Alley Cat", which our entire family became very familiar with. The class was so adorable when they came out on the stage that they could have simply stood there without dancing and still received applause. I am not sure why they had cream puffs on their heads instead of cat ears, perhaps the puffs were considered more versatile for future perfomances.
Exhibit C: Me again, displaying the attitudinal result of too many familial requests for dances and a rather un-ethereal pose. What cracks me up every time I look at this is the black running shoes. SO dainty! I really didn't want to be a ballerina. I wanted to be a horse.
Exhibit D: This would ideally be a picture of So in Irish dance costume, but 1/ I don't have said picture in my custody, and 2/ posting it would cause domestic strife. Use your imagination. So wanted to be a soldier.

Belly dance classes for kids were unheard-of in 1960's Ontario, though now there are usually a handful of kids in the larger workshops I attend. They seem to be having a good time. Not only do they get sequins, they get coins, beads and fringe too!! Lets hope they get a kick out of their pictures in 30 years or so...and still remember how to shimmy!

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