Friday, September 22, 2006

The Dancing Shepherdess and the Faerie Queen

Here is a photo of me taken in 1978. I am wearing my shepherdess costume sans crook and kerchief:

The shepherdess costume was great for impromptu dance performances. Sometimes I gave my parents warning ahead of time, but most of the time, everyone had 10 minutes at the most to assemble for the show. Someone found music for me to dance to, and I made up the steps as I danced. I never made any money from these dances (I blame my publicist), but I did develop a knack for performing in front of other people without succumbing to stage-fright. Perhaps that's why I thought my destiny lay in acting. Acting turned out not to be my vocation (though I did have fun with the high school plays), and I tossed aside my early plans to become a ballet dancer after reading Off Balance: The Real World of Ballet, by Suzanne Gordon. Had I been what the dancer Martha Graham referred to as "doom eager" to become an actor or dancer, I would have devoted myself to the performance arts. I probably wouldn't have become a reader, though, or had time to play. It doesn't sound like a life I would have enjoyed.

Even though I never dressed up as a faerie queen* for Halloween, I still got to pretend I was a queen 364 days a year. I made crowns out of aluminum foil, cardboard, and sparkly buttons. The irridescent green and blue skirt I wore for my three-minute performance in Aesop's The Peacock and the Crane** also served as the main attraction of my Freya costume two years later. While school life was dreary and difficult, my play-time was rich and full of imagination.

I've decided that I had a good childhood.

*I was too haughty to be a mere princess.
**I have no recollection of my crane co-star calling me a "dunghill cock," at least onstage.


Nonny said...

Lucia looks alot like you. That is very cute. Your recall is amazing. I don't recall much about my youth until around the 5th or 6th grade. I do remember putting on a few shows with my siblings for my mom and dad. I cringe at those memories though. I hate speaking in any kind of public forum.

Lone Star Ma said...

Yay for happy childhoods!

You are such a beauty!

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Thanks, Nonny. For the record, Lucia is not like me in terms of performance. She likes to dance and sing, but she does it for herself. When she was learning to walk, if anyone clapped or showed interest, she would drop to all fours. Contrast that with her best friend at the time who would do it 10 times more if you clapped for him.

Lone Star Ma: Thanks!

Lady K said...

How cute is THAT picture!? Makes me just want to squeeze you, but I won't. And Nonny is right, Lucia DOES strike an amazing resemblance to you as a child.

Stage fright is one of the most difficult things I've overcome. I still get it for at least 5 minutes into a song but then I'm fine.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Lady K: You may squeeze me (not too tightly, though). Unlike Brad the Gorilla, I am not opposed to expressions of affection. (Still, I have never been a fan of sloppy kisses. This is why I do not have a dog.)

A little bit of stage fright is zingy. Or rather, stage "jitters." Have you ever refused to go on stage, as it were?

I am reminded of a friend of mine who, in college, was signed up for a karaoke song. She refused to do it. The karaoke dj begged and cajoled, but my friend still refused to do it. I had to admire her. It wasn't a matter of stage fright as much as pure, unadulturated REFUSAL.

galetea said...

Stage fright was something I always had to fight before shows...that insane impulse to just run away right before the curtain went up. (this from someone who spent 4 summers as a gigging actor!) That impulse has gotten stronger as I've gotten older, sadly, leading me to believe that my Meyers Briggs profile has probably changed from ENFP to INFP.

BlueMamma said...

i still suffer from stage fright every time i have to sing in church, which i've done, every sunday, for six years.

maybe i needed a neat shepherdess costume when i was a little girl. hmmm...

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Bluemamma: Am I ever going to get to read your blog?!

You're brave to endure stage fright. Everyone is. Do you have anything you wear or hold to encourage bravery? Usually, if I'm wearing something red, it means I'm borrowing courage.

Galetea: Speaking of Meyers-Briggs, I just retook the test myself. After years of showing up as INFP, I test as "INFJ." I wonder when the MB Changeover happens.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

What a sweet little thing you used to be! What the hell happened?

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

YP: I remember the summer after I turned 11. I started saying what I felt, and I was surprised when my parents didn't tear me limb from limb. I was turning into an adolescent, but at the time I didn't know it.

That's what happened!

BlueMamma said...

ha ha, that's right, i have a blog, don't i? hmmm, maybe i should post something someday.

as for stage fright, i'm very conveniently hidden behind a large organ console, to that if my books are tall enough, only the top of my head is visible. from there, even with a microphone in my face, i can do anything.

however, if i'm visible, i need to be wearing makeup or else i'm far too terrified to do anything.

BlueMamma said...

ok, so i put up a blog post, you can see it now. :)