After a year of so of ballet lessons came the opportunity for me to perform in high school plays and musicals. My world of dance expanded from ballet to musical comedy theatre as I danced in “Our Town,” and other long forgotten musicals. Then came the high school talent show. I prepared a toe dance to classical music and won despite great classmate competitors who sang popular rock‘n roll songs of the day, played the piano or performed magic acts. The student body wasn’t too happy with a toe dancer winning first place and the coveted prize of a portable black and white TV set over the other more popular contestants, but the adult judges liked ballet dancing.
I was hooked. I loved dancing. Who needed boy friends or dating when you could have so much fun dancing? At this time, I discovered the world of professional ballet dancing and became a member of the Los Angeles City Ballet. So many opportunities had been opened to me that wouldn’t have been possible if I had stayed in my hometown of Eureka, Utah with a population under 5,000 and no ballet teachers.
The only problem was, ballet is not social dancing and it didn’t help me overcome my shyness with the boys. Being taller than most of the guys in high school also didn’t help. Add to those problems, the addition of glasses for near sightedness, and I began to feel like an “old maid” at sweet sixteen. Invited to one high school party-a dance party, I discovered I had no social dance skills. The popular music of the day included Elvis and the twist. Well, my mom decided to help me out by teaching me some popular dances from her youth. Unfortunately, the Charleston and the waltz weren’t well known at the one and only party I attended in high school.
Somehow I survived high school by focusing on dancing and my studies. Self conscious and skinny at 5’9” and 110 pounds, I couldn’t be seen if I turned sideways, but I did excel in my math and science classes. I took an accelerated English and college prep seminar class that pointed me towards college. I would start a new tradition in my family of attending college. After high school graduation, I received free tuition at one of California’s great junior colleges and was to have my first dating experience.