The Mardi Gras marching group will return for this year’s parade, thanks to punter enthusiasm -“ but for the first time ever, boys and girls will be thrown in together.

New Mardi Gras initially decided not to fund a parade marching group for 2003, but after a flood of queries from people wanting to be involved, and securing sponsorship from the Harbourside Shopping Centre and the Newtown Gym, they gave the idea the go-ahead.

We’ve got all sorts of ages and all sorts of shapes and sizes, group organiser Ed Baker told Sydney Star Observer. Some have marched together before, but for many of us it will be our first time in a marching group.

The 23 girls and 33 boys in the group are being taught their routines by first-time Mardi Gras parade choreographer Averil Yeo.

We decided to have everyone all in together, she said. We didn’t want to exclude or segregate in any way.

And I couldn’t refuse the idea of having over 50 willing bodies doing exactly what I want them to do, she added.

The choreography, which Yeo described as being Charlie’s Angels meets the wild wild west, will be performed to Leah Howard’s rendition of the Macy Gray hit, Sexual Revolution. The group will also be carrying a topical anti-war message.

And the look? Silver hotpants and slouch hats for the boys; silver skirts, halter tops and slouch hats for the girls.

You can do an awful lot with some silver lycra and a bit of imagination, one participant told the Star.

That may be so, but it would appear that the Mardi Gras marching group may be a little bit more modest than another parade entry, the Melbourne Marching Boys. While 76 metres of fabric have been used to create the costumes for the Sydney contingent, the entire Melbourne group has been kitted out in less than 10 metres of stretch lycra.

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