It all began in middle school with the CD San Juan Suite. It had beautiful piano music, with real sounds from the San Juan Islands. It had the lapping of waves, the call of seagulls, and most importantly—it had whale song.
It captivated me, it stole me.
As with much music, dances began to form in my mind. I could see the characters, the flow of the dances—the story within the music.
It would be a storm; I would cut and paste three or so tracks together. It would be a summer project, and all the girlz could join in. Those that didn’t dance could be part of a Talent Show that would mark the second half of the performance.
It was summer. Summer is the perfect time for such an event.
I shared this idea first with Treasa when we were on a camping trip with our two families. She said it sounded good. I would help with dance choreography and she would do the costuming. Sine would be sunshine; and it was perfect because she had just started Irish dancing (Irish dancers are light on their feet and flitter across the stage like sunlight).
Belle would be the rainbow and she would dance with Sine. She knew a bit of tap dancing. I knew nothing of tap dancing, but we would manage. I could teach myself just about anything I wanted to learn; and I was creative. I would make it work.
Little Elen would be the rain; she is a beautiful dancer who is destined for more than being a mouse in the Nutcracker. At first I was going to be the clouds; I could picture myself whirling around the stage just like clouds rolling in for a summer thunderstorm. But Rowena thought she would be better suited for clouds, and that I should be lightning (which was to be her part). Everyone agreed; and so I was good with that. It ended up working out perfectly.
And so we began to practice. Every day after Vacation Bible School at Calvary, we would all come to my house and we would rehearse. We had one Irish dancer, one Scottish dancer, two ballet dancers, and a tap dancer. We also practiced for the Talent Show that was to follow the dance piece, and in our spare time we laughed and played on the trampoline. My room was the headquarters, and the living room was the dance floor where we took turns practicing.
Then, the day came for the performance. Grania had painted the background for us—a beautiful mix of colors for a sunset. She and Treasa ran the music; both of them dressed up. The stage had been set up under the butternut tree in our front yard, the parents watching from lawn chairs out on the grass.
First came the Rain, Clouds, and Lightning all whirling onto the stage. Then we each had a solo. Our costuming was beautiful, designed by Treasa. Little Elen looked like a Greek goddess in her deep blue dress, ribbons at her wrists. Rowena was dressed all in white; with a gossamer headdress. I wore a sleeveless top with a raggedy skirt attached; all in blue and white and gold.
It was a beautiful dance. Then came the Sunshine and Rainbows to chase us off the stage. Sine wore an outfit of bright and merry yellow, which contrasted nicely with her dark hair. Belle was in a black leotard, with a rainbow skirt and rainbows in her hair. They danced together, then each took a solo. The music carried the mood of each dance, and it felt just like a storm.
The talent show was full of fiddle and piano music, singing, and the like. Treasa played Swallowtail Jig while her sister Elen played piano… Rowena wore a lavender gown that Mrs. R. had made and played piano while Grania sang a piece from choir… Sine wore my brown wool Irish dress while she sang… And I sang a piece in Gaelic that I had taught myself—Rinne Tu.
After that, we had refreshments and played on the trampoline. A trampoline full of girls makes for much laughter and a good time.
It was one of those times when you’re surrounded by your best friends and you are completely happy; it was one of the few times all of us girlz were together.
I can picture myself; my face full of laughter, frozen in the past.
Frozen in time.