She’s Dancing in the Stars

As long as I can remember, dancing and I have been inseparable — it was the thing that set me free and made me feel safe…at the same time.

I started taking lessons when I was two. It was 1953 and Miss Mary Roth taught in the old Chipley Elementary School gym. When I was four, I started taking from Mrs. Mary Cleveland in LaGrange and continued there until I left Harris County High in 1968.

We mostly did tap dancing…there was a little ballet thrown in. But the main course was good old-fashioned tapping to Broadway music. Miss Mary Cleveland, as I called her, loved her some show tunes.

I even majored in dance at UGA for one year. But the department was part of the  physical education curriculum — and teaching P.E. in school was not what I had in mind. I wanted to perform.

In addition, the UGA School of Dance emphasized the modern genre. The music was weird and nobody smiled on stage.

I was definitely a fish out of water.

So I put down my dancing shoes for five years and promptly gained about 20 pounds. Yikes…I’m not too tall and 20 pounds on me is like 50 on most folks. I wanted to change what the scales said. Motivation, however, eluded me. .

But when I left C&S Bank and took a job as the advertising manager for The Athens Observer, the opportunity to dance again came my way.

One of my coworkers told me about a dance teacher I really needed to meet.

So I went to Mell Street Studio and introduced myself to Gail. As soon as she saw me move my feet, it was love at first sight. She took me under her wing and encouraged me. She challenged me to dance in a way I had never done before.

She taught me about my center — the physical one in my diaphragm that needed to be the strongest muscle in my body. She turned my classical ballet illiteracy into a good, basic knowledge of my body’s strength and resilience.

And getting stronger made my tap dancing on point. Pun intended.

But she also taught me about having an emotional center — that core in our being from whence our little light shines. She taught me to breathe into my center all the good I could hold and exhale all the bad energy.

She literally gave me the tools that have helped me survive the darkest times of my life.

And I loved her dearly.

She was my mentor — my idol.

I wanted to be just like her.

But we lost her this week — her sweet spirit crossed over Monday. 

And we all weep…all of those lives she touched, challenged and encouraged.

We all weep.

But I know she’s singing and dancing somewhere — as full of life as she was in her studio.

So this one’s for you, Gail — a giant of a person in the body of a sprite…the sweetest of sweet spirits.

“She’s Dancing in the Stars”

She’s dancing in the stars and shining with the sun,

Endlessly living a life that’s just begun.

Flying like the wind and singing with the trees,

She disguises her touch as a springtime  breeze.

The pain of losing her is deep and sad,

As empty a feeling as I have ever had.

But her love is in my heart and will always be,

As precious as the sweet dancing one was to me.

ballet-ballet-shoes

 

About Pam Avery Printed

I graduated from the University of Georgia in 1972 with a major in journalism (public relations) and a minor in business (marketing). My experience for the last 40 years includes working in the corporate world (banking), the newspaper industry (advertising design and sales), owning and selling a restaurant, restoring and utilizing several old buildings on the property, teaching private dance and drama lessons for 20 years, free-lance writing for a national textile firm, publishing two children’s books, and ghost writing a book. My last tour of duty before beginning the current chapter was working as a reporter, photographer, and columnist for five weekly community newspapers. And now I teach...media writing at Columbus State University in Columbus Ga. I consider myself very fortunate--I get to be around intelligent, energetic and enthusiastic young people. What a joy. I believe the written word is one of the most powerful tools known to humankind. And now we have the ability to reach millions with a simple click of the mouse. Wow.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to She’s Dancing in the Stars

  1. Judy Jenks says:

    What a beautiful tribute to one so loved! Thank you for sharing Gail with us. Her spirit & sprite lives on in you, Pam.

  2. Margaret N. Vollrath says:

    I can’t say it better than Judy Jinks. Thank you for your wonderful sharing of your friend and mentor!

  3. Ellouise Connolly says:

    A really beautiful tribute to your mentor and friend. She would be proud of your poem “She is dancing….” and your writing talents brings the gifts this person gave to the world to light. May she rest in peace. Love you, Pam.

  4. Sylvia Wright says:

    I so enjoyed this, Pam! You brought to life for me this special lady. And since I didn’t know you back then, I pictured in my mind a pretty little sprite of a dancer named Pam!
    You must be a wonderful teacher!!💜💋

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s