Orange fake tan and SO MUCH HAIRSPRAY: 7 things women who did Physie as a kid know to be true.

From fake tan, hair curlers and outrageously coloured leotards, the world of Physical Culture or ‘Physie’ is truly like no other.

The unique dancing movement fuses together sport with a variety of different dance styles. Think hip hop and jazz meets aerobics. With lots of smiling.

Unbeknown to some, every week thousands of girls around the country don colourful outfits and practice dance routines in community halls.

And it’s a tradition that’s been going on for the past 126 years in Australia.

Watch the 7:30 Report on Physie below. Post continues after video. 

Video via ABC

Beyond all the glamour, the movement is focused on empowering women by bringing together grandmothers, mothers and daughters to make friends and build confidence.

And once you’re a Physie kid, you’re always a Physie kid.

Image: Supplied by BjP Physie.

Here are the seven things women who have taken part in Physie know to be true.

1. Physie takes fake tanning to a whole new level.

"Having orange fake tan literally rolled on with a paint roller."


"You will go to work/school the day after a Physie comp the colour of a mandarin."

"The fake tan! Getting it on (standing half naked in the cold laundry getting it sprayed on and waiting for it to dry) and soaking in the bath tub trying to get it off."

"The smell of Coppertone tan."

2. Getting your hair done for comp was a struggle.

"I remember going to sleep with foam rollers in my hair to get the perfect hairstyle and waking up with a very sore neck."

"Having a huge teased hair 'boof'."

"Getting knots out of the hair after comp."

"Hard plastic rollers with a pair of undies on top to sleep in."

"The smell of hairspray."

"The teasing of the hair and a million bobby pins and cans of hair spray."

"We would go to the hairdresser one day, sleep in rollers overnight, go back to the hairdresser the next day and have the living daylights teased out of our hair."

Leanne Farrelly and her sister rocking their Phsyie looks in the 70s. Image: Supplied.

3. The outrageously bright outfits.

"Wearing two pairs of orange tights – one skin coloured, one fishnets."

"Buying the leotards – making sure you got something that would flatter you, attract the judges and not make them notice a bad posture or tummy sticking out."

"Bright scrunchies to match the leotards."

"Doesn’t matter how big your wedgie is – you don’t touch it 'til the music stops."

"Girls wearing very padded bras from about age 11 to 12."

"I got introduced to g-strings, but my mum wouldn't let me get one."


"Choosing your leotard colours and style in a big church hall and ordering for the year ahead."

"Getting to choose your colours was the best!"

"I still vividly remember my long sleeve burgundy (maroon) with lolly pink diagonal ruffle."

"We had to go to the city to buy our leotards – I was in the era of fluro with a black elasticised belt that clipped up at the front."

BjP Physie.
Image: Supplied by BjP Physie.

4. All the marching.

"They always made you march around the room like you were in the army to very non-army music."

"And the practicing of marching around the house."

5. The music will always take you back.

"For years after when ever you hear a 'Physie song', it will take all your strength not to bust out the moves. Weddings, parties, Woolworths."

"I can remember most of a routine to 'Wannabe' I did like 20 years ago."

"One year my dance was Kylie Minogue's 'I should be so lucky'. Another was Beach Boys' Surfin’ USA."

"Once a Physie song, always a Physie song! It doesn’t matter if it was from 15 years ago, if it comes on the radio, I say ‘Oooh this is a Physie song’ and hubby rolls his eyes and says ‘Of course it is!’"

Physie girls
Image: Supplied by BjP Physie.

 6. Getting ready for team comps.

"Taking home the practice videos for teams to learn the moves."

"You could buy VHS of the approved routine done by last year’s champions in a white studio and practice in front of the TV."

"The nerves before competition."

"Black leotards for team comps and trying to get into the best team and be in the front row."

"Having great hair ribbons for teams."

BjP Physie
Image: Supplied by BjP Physie.

7. Practice and posture.

"Getting splinters from the church hall floor."

"Never being as bendy as my teacher wanted me to be, that I'll remember. My Physie teacher came for a look at one of my sisters weddings and the other three of us sisters were bridesmaids... as we all walked in it's like we saw her and automatically sucked in our guts, put out shoulders back and our heads up. We hadn't done Physie for years!"

Did you do Physie as a kid or do you have kids who do? Tell us what you know to be true in the comments below. 

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