London’s finest flappers and cake

I know a whoopee spot, where the gin is cold but the piano’s hot!

That spot just happened to be Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club on Tuesday 25th August, although the gin was probably best described as tepid and there wasn’t an actual piano. But there were Sisters… loads of them, not just Shoreditch Sisters either, we had a lovely selection of visitors from our neighbouring WIs. It was of course our annual summer party, which meant that it was an extra special meeting.

Charleston Dance
Hands up, who’s lost?

What do you do for a super special meeting?

The Charleston obviously! Our very own Peyvand took on the, at times thankless, task of teaching the Charleston to 55 slightly malcoordinated Sisters.

Charleston Dance
Peyvand leads the way

For those unfamiliar with this elegant and graceful dance it became super popular in the 1920s and was a firm favourite with contemporary audiences – in particular “Flappers”, the women who danced the Charleston with a cocktail in their hand. These ladies were blamed for the decline in moral standards – not sure what the equivalent was for the gentlemen who also performed the same dance – curiously no finger pointing for moral degradation at the men folk, what a shocker!

The scandalous floozies Flappers would roll down their stockings, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, wear shorter skirts, have their hair bobbed and engage in (whisper it) heavy petting… oooh err mrs!

Needless to say at it’s height of popularity the Charleston was banned from many dance halls because of it’s outrageous behaviour!

Like this?
Like this? KP VP gets into the swing

There are four basic steps in the Charleston; take a step back with the right foot; kick back with the left leg; step forward with the left foot (going back to the original position); kick forward with the right leg… aaaaaand repeat. Sounds so simple doesn’t it, there were more steps, I don’t remember any of them, mainly because trying to step and move my arms left me looking like a demented otter attempting to ski rather than swim. For those of us less blessed with natural poise, there was cake. Oh boy was there cake. The rallying cry from Dear Leader for Sisters to bring cake was greeted with more cake than we, or indeed a hoard of ravenous beasts could have consumed.

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Shoreditch Sisters WI

Founded in 2007, we are a WI for women in and around London. We meet on the second Tuesday of the month at 52 - 54 Featherstone Street, London, EC1Y 8RT at 7pm. Membership is available all year around - joining in Jan-31st March is £41 for the entire year, April-30th June £30.75 for three quarters of the year, July- 30 Sept £20.50 of half a year, and Oct-Dec £10.25. We meet 11 times a year plus extra monthly sub-groups. Non-members are welcome to most meetings for £5.