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Part: 6 Picture Perfect > Term Paper #3 - Pg. 353

Sample Term Papers 353 Starting near the turn of the twentieth century, women began to step dance. They had most likely been doing so privately for quite some time, but it was considered indecent by the Church for women to dance, so any such displays in public were previously unacceptable. However, the gender dy- namic had completely reversed itself by the 1930s. Because of the influx of female dancers, a new, more feminine dance was invented specifically for women, called a slip jig. Danced to music in 9/8 time, a slip jig's steps consist of graceful skipping, hopping, and toe pointing. Soft shoes were in- troduced around 1924 for use during slip jigs. They are soft leather shoes with flexible soles, much like Western ballet shoes, and they lace up the front and tie around the dancer's ankle (Richens and Haurin). The prevalence of female dancers also led to the unique posturing of Irish step dancing that is its trademark today. Parish priests felt that women dancing with loose arms were far too provocative, so in order to increase their self-control, Irish step dancers must dance with their torso rigid, arms firmly at their sides, and faces expressionless (Richens and Haurin). Costuming for Irish step dancing changed over the years as well. In 1893, the Gaelic League went on a quest for a traditional Irish costume, and as a result, feis rules made by the Irish Dancing Commission now call for "authentic Gaelic dress." Boys wear white button-down shirts and dark pants, or kilts for older boys and men. Girls and women wear elaborately embroidered dresses with a shawl draped from the left shoulder to the right side of the waist, as well as black stockings, or white knee socks for younger dancers. There are even rules regarding hairstyles at a feis. A female dancer must curl her hair in ringlets for a competition, and keep it away from her face with a head- band. Footwear has been through some significant improvements over the years as well. The old men's "buckle shoes" were replaced by what are known as hard shoes. They have fiberglass tips and hollow heels, making them much lighter and louder (Richens and Haurin). Clogging Evolves