Friday, November 30, 2007

Flashback Friday - 1973 and the dancing doll

Did you happen to watch Marie Osmond's doll dance on Dancing with the Stars? I know she got blasted for it all over the Internet, but hey, Marie and me, well we're about the same age and I'm pretty certain I couldn't perform a doll dance that included multiple twirls and lifts.

But, there was a time when I could! In 1973 I performed as a wind-up doll that came to life in the ballet Coppelia, shown here during dress rehearsal. The dance was actually performed en pointe so I'm not sure why I'm not wearing my pointe shoes.

I didn't dance the part of Coppelia, although I would have liked to I wasn't chosen for that part. It was only my third year of performing solos and I was given the part of one of the dolls in Doctor Coppelius' shop.

The doll dance I did perform was not an easy one to perform. It's difficult to dance "choppy" and "elegant" all at the same time.

Ah, I remember many of the steps in that dance. Holding my arms in a stiff bent fashion, angling my head just so, slowly coming to life after being wound up. I especially remember the teensy-tiny hops that were done en pointe. Standing on one leg, hopping on your toe, with the other leg in the air is much harder than it appears!

I also danced with my class as a Spanish doll - that was a fun dance and an adorable costume. There might have been another dance too, but after thirty some years I just can't recall for sure; the dance I'm thinking of might have been from a different ballet performance.

Because I had multiple costumes and the owner knew my family was a bit strapped for cash, she agreed to let me sew the costume for the doll. Time and money were issues so the doll dress was quite simple.

The costume began with a white cotton scoop-neck body suit. I added big puffed sleeves to the body suit and then sewed a mini-skirt to wear over the body suit. The gored mini-skirt, with a waistband and tiny ruffle at the hem, was sewn from the same fabric as the sleeves - a lightweight white cotton with tiny red flocked flowers.

While the skirt did not have tulle underneath it, the flare from the gores, combined with the lightweight fabric, gave life to the skirt as I danced. The final touch was long red ribbons on the bodice to match the long red ribbon that decorated my pony tails.

And yes, I had big round red cheeks.

Never seen the ballet Coppelia? Check out a few of the clips on YouTube.

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  1. I don't know how you did it- dancing in pointe shoes. My daughter also dances and considers it a badge of honor when her toes bleed.

  2. What can't you do? And further, it wouldn't be a flashback of my Sharon's if it didn't include complete details of what you wore, because you remember. xoxo



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