When I first started contra dancing, I was all about the *wild.* How far could I push the moves? How much more could I get out an 8-count? How many extra spins could I work in? I still do that sometimes. It’s cool. It’s fun. And, at times, it’s just right.
But then I discovered that I don’t have to push myself to get a good dance. I’ve discovered that attention to form has a lot of ROI. And, I’ve discovered that I can actually get more out of the dance by not focusing on the excess but on the micro-ness of my movements and form.
But the best discovery (other than what I mentioned above AND leather-soled shoes) is the value of a full-circle skirt. Lord, have mercy. When I dance in a full-circle skirt — especially the 1950s heavy cotton vintage kind — wowsa! I barely have to move and the skirt swishes and sways behind me. I love it. And while I am, of course, focusing on my partner and the progression of the dance, I can always see my skirt in my peripheral vision. It makes me feel more elegant and feminine, which then reinforces my desire to focus on my form rather than the flash and excess.
So, I have two 1950s cotton, full-circle skirts, impeccably sewn. One was a gift from my mother, a dancer in her own right, whose waist size had surpassed mine. The other I found at a thrift store for $2.49! Ric-rac galore! I still haunt the interior of eBay looking for more of the same. I just love them. I love to dance in them. I love to wear them in the summer. I love walking and feeling the heavy swoosh of quality skirt as a I walk. And when I dance, watch out!
If any of my peeps out there have older relatives, who would have been young and fun-loving in the ’50s, I’m a candidate for purchasing any 1950s-era full-circle skirts. My waist is 28″. *Sigh* Any length skirt is good.