A few weeks ago, a brilliant and gutsy idea occurred to me as I was browsing Dance-Again. I want to attend a competition in a vintage and traditional solo dress with natural hair and minimal make up. Why? For the simple reason of wanting to know what it was like dancing in the older, traditional styles. When I say older, I am referring to mostly the pre-Riverdance era of costuming. There's just no replicating the exquisite and intricate knotwork of these dresses of old. There is also a certain poetry in the way they flow while dancing, especially while spinning that dresses of today just don't quite capture.
As I progressed as a dancer, I got sucked into the pageantry of feiseanna. I am not complaining about this. I love getting gussied up in my fancy dress and my fancy hair with my fancy make up to compete against others. I believe that the costuming part of Irish dance is all about showing your best self to the adjudicators, and the way us Irish dancers do that is to take the "authentic Gaelic dress is desired" and kick it up a few hundred notches.
Observing the trends of the last few majors, senior ladies really have the gamut of costuming appearances. Some dancers keep the ever-voluminous curly wigs, while others are opting for natural and classic updos. Recently, dressmakers has started using more and more traditional Celtic symbols in their dress designs, which balances out the just-as-current bold and often asymmetrical geometric designs. Even the colors used in dresses range from one, to the rainbow. So why not break out a vintage dress?
Why not: As fabulous as this looks in my head, I do not see myself as a trendsetter in the dance world. My TC would think I am crazy. I do not know when I can feis again, and I only attend a few feiseanna a year right before majors. Also, finding a vintage dress in good condition that's my size and my price will be a feat in itself.
All wussiness aside, I have put together a few looks that would be smashing (or so I think in my mind).