Dancing Qweens

Recently landed: Dancing Qweens, Gracia’s written response to James Welsby’s exploration of 50 years of queer dance history, at Dancehouse, for Fjord Review

There is a photo of me dancing in the lounge room of my family home. My arms are flung wide overhead, making the Y shape to the Village People’s Y.M.C.A.. My mouth is parted in a smile, mid pronunciation of the letter Y. Caught in a moment of bliss and expression on the imaginary dancefloor before the fireplace. I am dancing with my younger cousin, following the playful choreography. The letter M: let your elbows point like rabbit ears on your head. The letter C: hug a beach ball to the left-hand side. The letter A: arms overhead once more, fingers touching to create a triangle. My favourite record is spinning, and I am happy. In the adjoining room, the grown-ups are presumably talking about grown-up stuff, missing all the fun, until my Dad picked up the camera and recorded this moment for posterity.

The year captured in the discoloured photograph is 1980. I am five years old. My memory can no longer tell me what costume I imagined myself to be wearing, but I feel certain there were feathers and sequins in there.

***

“Patterns or sequins?” enquires “Mad Fox” Maggie. Sequins, please, I think. Anything, I say. “How about this black dress with sequins on the hip?”

Valerie Hex (James Welsby) in Dancing Qweens (image credit: Matto Lucas)