The skirt grazed the floor as Zuzana danced around Zvolenská Slatina’s town hall. She’d borrowed it from a friend. Every few months the younger village kids would dance at local weddings or perform for bleary-eyed parents as they registered their newborns. When Zuz turned 6, her grandmother decided that the dances were regular enough that she deserved her own skirt. Margita’s generosity and modesty meant she commissioned a local seamstress rather than make the skirt herself, in spite her own proficiency. The dark cotton velvet was expertly ‘tambour’ stitched. As Zuz spun around, the stitched flowers and vegetables cycled through the seasons from early Spring Lily-of-the-Valley through to Summer roses and the Autumn harvest of corn. The skirt shrunk, from sitting mid calf to shaving her knees and with her teens came the inevitable period of self-consciousness and she, along with many of her friends, gave up folk dancing. This year Zuz turns 32, she’s not taken up dancing again but on special occasions, she still wears the skirt, which now ‘just covers my arse’.

13 Nov 2016