Rockabilly takes a swing in Canberra’s Film and Sound Archive

Rockabilly takes a swing in Canberra’s Film and Sound Archive

ROCKABILLY TAKES ON DANCING AND JIVING AT THE NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE.

Photo license Fiona Rothchilds 2016 rockabilly

Rockabilly Canberra-style.

Swing dancing and rock’n’roll was the liveliest time before 7pm last Friday for patrons at the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA)’s Southern Gallery*.

Real ‘live’ music played by the ‘Midnight Express’ band kept everyone moving and grooving to the drum beat. The musicians in this cover band wore 1950s jackets and neck ties with a touch of glam rock.

Photo license Fiona Rothchilds 2016 rockabilly

Rockabilly dancefloor

Photo license Fiona Rothchilds 2016 rockabilly

The rockabilly dance audience

The rockabilly dancing was spectacular as was the range of costumes worn by dancers and patrons. The hall floor boards were especially polished to help dancers enjoy their time on dance floor. Masses of seating were eagerly filled by women and children keen to watch ladies and gentleman dance to the beat of rock and roll music.

Photo license Fiona Rothchilds 2016 rockabilly

Rockabilly dance costume

It was exciting to see so many people in Canberra dressed-up for a night out on the town. It was a family night of good time dancing and jiving to the music.

Photo license Fiona Rothchilds 2016 rockabilly

“Go Little Pattie”

Photo license Fiona Rothchilds 2016 rockabilly

Best costume couple

Australian pop artist ‘Little Pattie’ (Patricia Amphlett, OAM – https://www.awm.gov.au/people/P1078570/) judged the Best Dressed costumes for dancers. The winning couple were in identical pale blue which Pattie said is her favourite colour.

Photo license Fiona Rothchilds 2016 rockabilly

Rockabilly audience

Little Pattie accepted the NFSA’s offer to judge the winners of the rockabilly dance costume event about 30 minutes before her own event was to begin. She was appearing with Normie Rowe that Friday for a 1960s revival night. Altogether it was a spectacular night at the NFSA.

  • *According to the NFSA’s brochure If these walls could talk, construction of the building began in in 1925. In 1928 the building became the Australian Institute of Anatomy. The Southern Gallery was originally used to display skeletons, cast of prehistoric skulls, and anatomical specimens and models. The Southern Gallery is now an exhibition room for NFSA’s national audio-visual collection.

The NFSA brochure says that suspended Art Deco light fittings hang from the ceiling and art deco patterns feature in the heating and air vents. The walls feature decorative capitals on pilasters with plaster castings of the platypus, kookaburra, tree kangaroo, koala and wombat, painted in bronze to resemble bronze cast sculptures.

While Art Deco might not seem to be aligned with rockabilly music, both art genres began through artistic dissatisfaction with the status quo and a creative need for new forms of artistic expression. Both creative forms were appreciated in the NFSA building on McCoy Circuit, Acton which houses Australia’s Living Archive.

Text copyright Fiona Rothchilds 2016 other than acknowledged sources.
Photograph copyright Fiona Rothchilds 2016. 

Uploaded 08 February 2016. Updated 13 February 2016.

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