Friday, September 11, 2009

Rive-Nord High School Dance Troupe

Lets end this week of High School memories with my main affiliation back then (other than Teacher's Pet and Weird Goth/Witch Girl), the Rive-Nord High School Dance Troupe!

Think about it: Dance Shows = Costumes!

As I've already said, we had no Cheerleaders (and no band, drama club or any of the usual - this is a Quebec French Canadian school, not an American High), so the dance troupe was the group which performed at School Galas. When our school hosted the annual regional Cross Country Run, we were the entertainment for the opening and closing ceremonies. I had a lot of fun with everyone from the troupe.

Following are pictures of every costume I wore for the two years I was in the troupe (Secondary IV and V or grade 10 and 11, depending on your system). To help you find me, there is a big red arrow pointing at my head in every picture. You should know that all of the costumes were provided by each dancer, which is why there are so many differences in style and colour.

Grease (1997-1998)

What school hasn't had it's own version of the famous musical Grease (1978)!

Our costumes were simple: white short sleeved blouse or polo shirt, long skirt, white socks and white canvas shoes for girls; white t-shirt, black jeans, black leather jacket, white socks and black sneakers for boys (we actually only had two boys that year in the troupe, so many "boys" were played by girls).

My skirt was apple green. It was originally my mom's and it was pink, but back then, pink was not a cool colour for girls (for some strange reason really; Ah, Fashion!). Besides, it looked a lot like what the waitresses at Nickels wore at the time, so I dyed it with a box of Tintex.

Already back then I loved costumes and I was beginning to learn to make them. For the role of Sandy, we had three yellow skirts that were being passed from girl to girl, depending who played Sandy in the dance number. Guess who made the skirts? Yours truly of course (and I never played Sandy; I played Rizzo at the PJ party, Lip Syncing to "Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee" in my one piece Pyjama with feet). The teacher in charge of the troupe had bought this horrible cheap poplin that was thin and full of static. You know the one, it's the cheapest fabric at WalMart, there's a rack with every colour of the rainbow. I get chills just thinking of my nails on this fabric. Ghaw!

Ciné-Danse (1998-99)

The principle behind Ciné-Danse is simple: choose a song from a movie, make a choreography to go with it, and if possible, let it have something to do with the movie. Here are all the choreographies I was in, with the song, movie it came from and a description of the costumes.

MOVIE: Batman (1989)
SONG: Batdance (Prince)
COSTUME: We all wore black leggings, black turtlenecks, black plastic masks, and what you can't see very well on the picture is the "wings": one plain triangle of cheap black poplin pinned to our sleeves and neck (and all of them cut and hemmed by yours truly!).

MOVIE: Forrest Gump (1994)
SONG: California Dreamin' (The Mamas & The Papas) & Hound Dog (Elvis)
COSTUME: For the first half of the choreography (to the sound of California Dreamin'), we're all wearing army and camouflage print vests (half of which I had to rent from my brother), the "guys" are wearing white t-shirts and black jeans, and the "girls" wear white polo shirts and Boho skirts. During the song, we slowly striped off the army vest and threw it away. Then, the lights went out for a few seconds during which time the "girls" took off their Boho skirts to reveal 50's skirts and the "guys" put on their leather jackets and we were ready to rock n' roll to Elvis! (Basically, our Grease costumes.)

MOVIE: Spiceworld (1997)
SONG: Spice up your Life (Spice Girls)
COSTUME: There were 12 of us in the choreography (one girl missed the photo shoot), so there were 2 or 3 girls dressed up as each of the Spice Girls. I was one of the Baby Spice. You might not know it by looking at my picture, but that is because I made my outfit from a poster I had in my bedroom at the time that showed her in this outfit:

Emma Bunton aka Baby Spice

I bought a black tank top from WalMart and glued, then sewed, sequins to spell BABY and drew a heart underneath (my first recreation - and I still have it to this day, although I've never worn it since). I wore black leggings that I turned up to my knees (on my poster, you couldn't see her legs very well, so I supposed that she was wearing Capri), and I had white platform sneakers, which were very much in fashion back then, due to the group's influence. I wanted to wear my hair in pigtails, but we had to have a french braid that we wore throughout the whole show.

MOVIE: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)
SONG: I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor)
COSTUME: Since we were all "on vacation", we wore tied sleeveless shirts and shorts, except for the murderous fisherman with a hook who was dressed all in black (trench and rain hat).

MOVIE: Men In Black (1997)

SONG: M.I.B. Main Theme
COSTUME: M.I.B. agents, such as myself, wore a black suit, white shirt, black tie, black shoes and black sunglasses; aliens wore colourful sweatshirts and pants.

MOVIE: 54 (1998)
SONG: If you could read my mind (Stars on 54)
COSTUME: Glitter! Seriously, that was the only instruction we received for that costume. At the time, I was watching old reruns of Star Trek: The Original Series (1966). I was brought up by a family of Trekkies! Looking for glitter dress inspiration, I was struck by the gorgeous green dress worn by Maggie Thrett in the episode "Mudd's Women".

Karen Steele, left, as Eve McHuron with Maggie Thrett as Ruth Bonaventure, center, and Susan Denberg as Magda Kovacs, Star Trek: The Original Series , "Mudd's Women", originally aired October 13, 1966.

So I went to WalMart looking for green glitter fabric, but finding none, I bought light blue glitterdot fabric (close enough to turquoise!) and made myself a dress using Butterick 5540, view D.

MOVIE: Ghost Busters (1984)
SONG: Ghostbusters (Ray Parker, Jr.)
Ghost Busters wore mechanics jumpsuits with "Proton Packs" made from cereal boxes covered in aluminum foil with isolation foam tubing glued all around (they were not very solid; I'm the one who made them and they were horrible); our ghosts wore white Judogi without the belt.

MOVIE: Dirty Dancing (1987)
SONG: Do you love me (The Contours)
COSTUME: We had one "Johnny", who's role was to be all that and all of us girls were supposed to have the hots for "him". So "he" wore a Zoot suit, and we wore white tied shirts and 50's skirts.

Now, by then I hated my apple green skirt from the previous year (see the first picture from Grease) - it could have something to do with my boyfriend nicknaming me New York - The Big Apple - for wearing a raincoat the same colour - so I gave it to the girl in front of me in the line and my Mom was nice enough to make me a full circle skirt with some blue denim she had and did not need.

MOVIE: Les Boys (1997) - Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993)
SONG: Les Boys (Éric Lapointe) - The Greatest Medley Ever Told (Whoopi Goldberg)
COSTUME: This was the show's finale. The second to last piece was from Les Boys so we all walked in wearing Jeans and Hockey Jerseys. Then the Nun walked on (our teacher in real life) and we all took off our Jerseys, revealing white t-shirts, and tying them around our waist.

Whew, what a trip down memory lane. You might think it's crazy that I remember so many details about what I thought and did, but that's just me, I have a great memory!

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