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assignment 1: describe a socal group

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  • jordana robinson
    A few years ago I had a chance to attend a feish, which is an Irish Dance competition. I took dance classes when I was young, but never at the competition
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 26, 2006
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      A few years ago I had a chance to attend a "feish," which is an Irish
      Dance competition. I took dance classes when I was young, but never
      at the competition level, and not Irish Dance, so it was really
      interesting to see.

      Each Irish Dance school has its own colors, which are worn during
      lessons. For example, Trinity, the most popular Chicago Irish Dance
      school, has its students wear white tops and black bottoms. The
      beginners wear t-shirts and shorts, and progress to leotards and
      skirts as they advance. School colors are also an important part of
      competitions, to identify the affiliations of the performers, at least
      at lower levels and in group dances. The different skill levels at
      each school have specific performance outfits that incorporate the
      school colors and logos. The youngest Trinity girls perform in white
      blouses, green vests, and black skirts which have the Trinity logo in
      Celtic knotwork embroidery on the front. The next level up wears
      black dresses with white lace collars. These have more elaborate
      embroidery that covers much more of the dress.

      All the dresses are fitted through the bodice and have very full
      skirts with pleats, so that the skirt springs out a bit when the
      dancers kick and jump.

      These uniforms are worn by young dancers and for group competitions.
      The next level up would be something called a "solo dress." At
      first, these dresses were a bit shocking to me. I have never seen so
      many neon colors and so much metallic embroidery in my life. The most
      popular colors seem to be highlighter yellow and blaze orange, with
      contrasting accents (purple, turquoise, gold, etc.). The solo dresses
      are absolutely covered in large, intricate, multicolored celtic
      knotwork. You can see these things coming from yards away. They are
      also very expensive, but it seems there is a market for used dresses.
      The investment and skill level required for these dresses sets the
      dancers who wear them apart from the others.

      (At this point I should mention that while there are also a few male
      dancers, it seems they all wear black shirts, black ties, and black
      slim pants, no matter the level.)

      Besides the colorful solo dresses, another striking component of the
      dancers' outfits are the ubiquitous masses of ringlet curls worn by
      every competitor, even beginners. The typical hairstyle is a ponytail
      or bun covered in a huge "fall" made of bouncing curls. As with the
      pleated full skirts, the hair bounces when the dances are performed,
      but these things are so tightly sprung that they bounce just walking.
      Even girls with relatively abundant, naturally curly hair enhance it
      with some false hair, because most people just don't have that much
      hair on their head.

      A lot of the girls wear shoes known as "ghillies" which are like
      ballet shoes that lace in a crisscross up to the ankle. These are
      worn with calf-high white socks. To hold the socks up, they use "sock
      glue". To keep them from getting ruined when they walk around between
      competitions, they wear clogs or old sneakers (walking on the backs as
      if they were clogs) over the ghillies. Some girls wear hard-soled
      clogging shoes, which is for a different (more advanced I think) kind
      of dance.

      One last thing that amused me was how the girls dealt with the hot
      weather. The competition dresses are long-sleeved and sweaty.
      Between competitions, the girls would pull the top half down and let
      it flop around their waists, and wear cropped tank tops for modesty.
      So, imagine herds of girls, in short tank tops, with heavy elaborate
      dresses flopping around their waists, with a kind of shuffling walk
      because they are walking on the backs of sneakers, and giant bouncing
      curly heads!
    • jordana robinson
      A comment on my own assignment (it was already too long!): I m not kidding about the sock glue. It has a roll-on applicator. I ve also heard of it worn in
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 26, 2006
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        A comment on my own assignment (it was already too long!):

        I'm not kidding about the sock glue. It has a roll-on applicator.
        I've also heard of it worn in Japan, where there is, or was, a fashion
        for slouchy socks that look like legwarmers, and the glue is needed to
        hold them at the right height.

        Here's a page that shows the shoes, socks (I had forgotten they called
        them "poodle socks"), and glue:
        http://www.diochra.com/library/tools-overview.htm

        And the Japanese fashion:
        http://www.jbox.com/SEARCHES/loose_socks/
      • Tara Maginnis
        I LOVE Japanese street fashions! I just bought the sequel to the book Fruits http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0714840831/thecostumersmani called Fresh
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 28, 2006
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          I LOVE Japanese street fashions! I just bought the sequel to the book "Fruits" http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0714840831/thecostumersmani called "Fresh Fruits" http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0714845108/thecostumersmani and I'm continually adding to my collection of "Gothic Lolita" magazine and others like it. Anatoly Antohin (my director) and I were highly influenced by "Fruits" when we were working on Taming of the Shrew last year, and he now wants me to give Waiting for Godot's clowns more of a Hot Topic/Gothic Lolita look than a Charlie Chaplin style, which will definitely make things more fun for me this spring.

          jordana robinson <mylaar@...> wrote: A comment on my own assignment (it was already too long!):

          I'm not kidding about the sock glue. It has a roll-on applicator.
          I've also heard of it worn in Japan, where there is, or was, a fashion
          for slouchy socks that look like legwarmers, and the glue is needed to
          hold them at the right height.

          Here's a page that shows the shoes, socks (I had forgotten they called
          them "poodle socks"), and glue:
          http://www.diochra.com/library/tools-overview.htm

          And the Japanese fashion:
          http://www.jbox.com/SEARCHES/loose_socks/





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          --
          ----Tara Maginnis, Ph.D., Costume Designer, Professor and Chair
          of the Theatre Department of the University of Alaska Fairbanks
          Website: "The Costumer's Manifesto" at http://costumes.org
          Theatre Department Web Site: http://www.uaf.edu/theatre

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