Thursday, September 23, 2010

Elaina's Birthday Dance - How it Came to Be

I received the evaluations from the Moonshell Storytelling Festival 2010. The feedback was very positive for my performances and I'm thrilled to see what worked, and deduce what I can improve on. Many people liked the story, "Elaina's Birthday Dance" and the way it was presented. Here are the comments:
Sheila's story of Elaina Dancing - Sheila's actions
Elana – Because Sheila incorporated music and dance
Dancing Elena – fun and poignant
Dancing Elena – very much part of life
Elaina’s birthday party – Shows mother’s love and girl’s dream
Elena – Sheila Arnold – Song and Dance and Story!!
Little girl who danced – because it was fun and had a lot of expression

This story is also on my CD, "Hands Wide Open", and I have surprised and delighted about how many adults have spoken so highly of this story, along with kids. I think the comment above, "shows mother's love and girl's dream" is a common thread I have heard from people.

This is an original story and I'd like to share how it came to be. I was performing in the public schools of Zuni, New Mexico. My contact person had planned an evening program for parents where I would speak about storytelling. She had a large cake, soft drinks, cookies, the works and only 2 parents and 5 kids came. I never worry about turnout because I truly believe that God has those come who need to be there, and my job is to serve and love them. The parents, contact person and I sat and I shared a story or two, but then we talked about how they could share stories with their kids. One of the parents asked me how she could make up a story for her child. I said, "well, you can start with her name. What's her name?" "Elaina." "What does she like to do?" "Dance." "Well, you could start with something about Elaina loving to dance and..." - And the Story JUST CAME! I gave that story to the Mom to share with her daughter, having noted that the daughter was entranced.

I didn't present that story for almost 2 years. Then as I was preparing stories to tell at Chrysler Museum (Norfolk, VA) "Tickle My Ear" Pre-School Storytelling Series, I realized I needed another story with the theme, and "Elaina's Birthday Dance" came to mind. I knew this was a longer story for the little ones, but I thought I'd give it a try. I was stunned to see the little ones, and their parents, completely entranced. The children didn't move. So, the story became a staple - with many changes, additions and deletions to make it a stronger story and presentation along the way.

Now, it's your turn. Take the name and description of a person, combine it with something they like (or maybe don't like) and see what fictional story you can come up with. I hope you'll share it with me, Peace and belief,

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