This story could start, Once upon a time ... but it really happened.
It was not a bouquet, but it was a Floral arrangement. That is to say, the matchmaker was a mutual friend, Flora, a poetess, who liked both Adrienne Rich, and to introduce people who would fall in love with each other. And it was so, and still is.
Daisy was the dark one, with shorter locks like sable. Lilly had the longish, lighter tresses, though eventually, for the sake of symmetry, they wore their hair of matching length. Daisy definitely was the dominate of the pair, Lilly more likely to let her lead. But they were equal partners in the relationship, and contributions to their collaborative artistic endeavors was balanced fairly between them.
Lilly was originally a lingerie model, lithe, but not lanky. Daisy was a fashion designer, svelte and graceful, athletic even. Serendipitously, they wore the same dress size. So they found sharing clothes handy when they eventually became roomies, yet nonetheless personal styles were distinct. While Lilly no longer models, Daisy keeps her hand in the trade and has several items that get sold to companies every year.
Even before they met, their nicknames had been bestowed. That the rhyming monikers made an inadvertent sort of match was simply coincidental. Daisy was the daffy, ditsy party girl of her social set, as in, "Do you know what Crazy Daisy did last night?", her zany antics always on the wild side. More retiring, yet with a mischievous streak, the not-all-that-meek blonde was dubbed early on by her folks as Silly Lilly. Her escapades were quite the monkeyshines, often a practical joke on an unsuspecting parent or sibling. Meanwhile, she stood to one side looking innocent, until the joke was at the height of its hilarity, then she was unable to constrain herself and she burst into laughter. Thus the perpetrator of the stunt was unmasked. "Good one, Silly Lillie!" they would admit to her talent for tricks.
Lillie and Daisy became collaborators through Charlotte's Choreography Academy. Charlotte was known as Chuck. She was not Lottie, her parents had called her that. Nor Charlie, that was a perfume; and Charlotte rhymed with harlot. She was called Chuck by her first lover Susan, and the name stuck, though Sue had not. Chuck had them in an interpretive dance course at her training establishment. Two friends who came to keep fit, more fun than a gym, both found that particular curriculum offering appealed to their aesthetic nature and signed up. Their assignment for the final was to create a composition of their own Terpsichore to be performed for the whole class.
They chose Claude DeBussy's 'Clair de lune', they convinced a friend to record it on a dulcimer for them. It gave a different quality to the music, very ethereal they thought. Their title was "La Danse de Deux a un Dulcimer", 'The Dance of Two to a Dulcimer'. Only later was it lengthened, as you shall learn. Chuck saw this extraordinarily marvelous swirling of contrasting females, yet a set, a salt and pepper pair. Their piece was a symbiotic vortex of ying and yearning, a twirling of yang and young women. Twisting, swaying, they mirrored then counter-moved, they floated and flowed, whirling around one another while they themselves spun; they were blossoming flowers and falling leaves and willows in the wind. They were wonderful.
And there the story might have stopped. Though both knew of each other's lesbianism, they were not yet lovers. Not even living together at that stage. That was about to change. Chuck gave a pre-performance critique and made some constructive suggestions for refining the routine. They diligently took notes and agreed that there were things that might polish the piece. Then they made arrangements for a practice room. Due to their work schedules, and the fact that they were part-time students, full-time having first choice of times / rooms, they were booked for late one evening.
They did get a large practice room, with plenty of space to refine their dance. In fact, they were nearly alone at that time of the evening, the other students and faculty were few. It was then, it was there, that their lives changed, their careers became art and their art became their calling. That they set a new direction for their lives out of a established orientation, that they turned a single dance into a oeuvre, that they created a genre and revolutionary underground entertainment, these all began that special night.
I am privileged to know these ladies, I am honored they chose me to write their history, I am delighted they are my neighbors downstairs. I had been invited over to their apartment several times, before they provided the story and asked that I might share it publicly now. The time seems to have come for it to be told. Any kind of consequences won't matter, as this is past and passed too is their protégées progress into mainstream forms. It was obvious, nor did they ever hide the fact, of their joy in one another and their long love. The pictures and the tchotchkes scattered across the place made that evident for the visitor.
They had many amusing incidents to share, and interesting perspectives to provide. For instance, the six ages of girlhood and the six ages of womanhood. Their own delineation which they ran down for me. Lillie explained the first set was: baby, infant, toddler, kid, teen, those applied to most everyone, but then came coquette. Daisy picked up the thread for gals beyond their early twenties: youthful, mature, middle-aged, 'of a certain age', certainly aged (their present period), aged and old. The point being, that now they had reached this stage in their lives, when they knew that no damage could be done to family, friends, or colleagues by the telling of their tale, they were going to.
'Indeed, ' quipped Daisy, 'the telltale signs of our aging prompted the decision to open up, though we never did turn tail from the telling the truth.' With that remark they let me in on their private lives and secrets, their astounding story and personal triumph and the glory of their art. That night, in that practice room, they fine-tuned their routine, but what came from that experience was anything but routine. Once more their bodies bent and curved, blended and swerved together, apart and united, in motions slow and sensuous.
Nubile nymphs, spry sprites, sparked with inspiration and shining with perspiration. The night was hot, the lights didn't help and there was no fan. The windows were open to the breezeless dark. The heat was hell in the leotards, their towels were soaked. They thought, there's plenty of privacy, they had locked the door, there's nobody here but just us two chicks — why not dance nude? It would be cooler at least, and provide an extra sense of freedom to their torsos and limbs as they performed in rehearsal. Like skinny dipping, skimpy dancing; or as they term it scanty prancing, raised the activity to greater sensuality.
They practiced and repeated and reran the number. The movements and motions became memorized by their bodies was well as their minds. The final ending of the choreography had Lilly laying prone on her back, one leg lifted in a high kick. Daisy was alongside, just upstage to her but slightly offset stage left. She with an equally elegant elevated back-kick, so that the angle from knee to pointed toe exactly paralleled her partner's. The last time they did the entire routine, it was flawless. Daisy, being exhilarated by their perfect performance kissed Lilly, at that moment of the dance's end; lingering and loving — right on her split slit. When they did it for the class, clothed, they kept in the kiss. The class clapped, they whistled, they laughed, they loved it!
What was not added is what happened next that humid and heated eve. Crazy Daisy kissed Silly Lilly on her split slit, then on her clit, and kept on kissing. Continuing with eager acceptance from the other. Then Lilly was kissing Daisy back, and from there they simply made love on the practice mat near by. On that mat they found their mate, founded their art in that room, made history that night. The routine was a complete success, and was the talk of the school, not as scandal, but a scholastic breakthrough of form, fearless for it's openly romantic feeling and esoteric eroticism with exotic moves. The dulcimer sound seemed to have bestowed in their work a way of transforming technique into a genre of rapturous carnality embodied in dance.
They were asked for a repeat performance, and the audience grew. Attending that second time was a famous impresario, Chuck's doing. Again, the request was pleaded so the students and faculty who had not seen the magical piece, and even some from other Conservatories, could view this phenomena. Now entitled its full and final appellation. ''La Danse de Deux a un Dulcimer, Danse de Seduction" no further translation needed.
The offer to perform professionally came with both a monetary incentive that was too tempting, and a further contract for more of the same. The understanding that advancement of funding and finding venues would be with yet ever increased intimacy. Their art becoming both prurient and personal, their private acts incorporated into public performances, the caveat was that those who viewed them would be a very select few.
The exclusive access was restricted to only extremely wealthy people patrons of refined works (and their special guests). Mostly those who were dedicated to the cause of 'le femme avec femme', though some males were also willing to pay for the privilege of being in the audience. Not coincidently, "Le Femme Avec Femme" was the next title of the duo billed as "Crazy Daisy and Silly Lilly, Les Fleurs Les Plus Fraiches du Lesbianisme!". Indeed, they were the freshest flowers of that set's sort of sex, the newest artistes of l'avant guarde. The dearest darlings of the underground theatre that thrived on the kind of kinks that the populous at large could never be let in on, except now of course it can. From Cannes to California the whole of society more readily accepts that there are others of a different orientation; at least more tolerant of their existence, if not their unions as marriage.
Flora, the poetess who like to introduce people who would fall in love, acquainted the two of them with one another at a cafe. And it was so, and still is. Thirty five years is half a lifetime, and perhaps they will see their golden anniversary. It's certainly possible, their health is as solid as their love. Lilly and Daisy accepted the bloom of their love along with the boom of their new careers exploding, as well as the boon of their financial security.
They danced, with newly choreographic routines and growing reputations and glowing reviews and ever expanding audiences. Chuck promised mentoring and made good, eventually protégées provided a group of performers and made the production more varied and all the more interesting. This in turn generated greater income, which was wisely invested. Their troop was called a 'bouquet of embolden ballet' by devoted fans.
I have seen not only the films of ''La Danse de Deux a un Dulcimer, Danse de Seduction" and "Le Femme Avec Femme" which was danced to DeBussey's 'Afternoon of a Faun', (a natural follow up, but with less inhibition of the exhibition of lesbian love); but also later works. Some were recorded on video, for instance "Quand L'amour Vous Propose sa Fleur", 'When Love Offers Its Flower' again a seduction theme. However, it's complete with the erotic moves made explicit. In this case, since it is performed by actual lovers, just like when Brad and Angelina kiss on screen in mainstream, the passion and romance is really there. It has a lovely rendition of Edvard Grieg's 'Morning Mood' for the music.
It is this latter piece that the gals asked me to review and describe as best I could. An endeavor difficult, if anyone could recreate in words, what a live performance of such a risque and beautiful experience one views for real. But it is my responsibility as the conduit for their narrative to attempt to do so. Fortunately, I have had their help and guidance, even some of their words to make my task easier. My special thanks to Tonia too, my own lover extraordinaire.
The costumes and feeling of this piece owe much to the spirit of Loie Fuller, who danced in Paris at the end of the Nineteenth Century. (Note: Loie and her partner, Gabrielle Bloch, were together for over 20 years, until Fuller's death.) While the costumes were not the extensive swaths of material their earlier predecessor of modern dance used, the flow of the translucent floaty attire picked up the lighting and wafted through the air in a similar fashion. Of course they were specially designed by Daisy, and also had a 'seven veils' sort of homage as they fluttered away to the stage, one by one, until the two were left all but bare. However, see below.