History - Utah Arts Festival (1990)
June 1990 - Triad Center, Salt Lake City, Utah

History | History Text | History Posters | 1990 | Utah Arts Festival | Video
My Gal (1990)

Choreographed and Danced by: Elizabeth A. Miklavcic
Music: (Video Credits)
Costume: Elizabeth A. Miklavcic
Location: Triad Center, Salt Lake City, Utah
Length: 3:46 minutes
Description
In 1990, the Utah Arts Festival was held at the Triad Center in downtown Salt Lake City, the festival director was encouraging street performances that year. As part of the street performing program Elizabeth presented four tap dances in different locations throughout the festival, in the middle of the day, in the hot Utah desert sun.

The first dance performed was My Gal, designed for Elizabeth's beginning adults to build confidence. The dance structure contains some specific tap dance steps, but is mostly choreographed to express joy, move through the space, and show off a little. This dance, as are all of her tap dances, is dedicated to Jo Reid, Elizabeth's life-long inspiration, teacher, and mentor.

Jo Reid Tribute
When I was four years old I remember watching my big sister in dance class, which took place in the front living room of a classic Victorian home in Aptos, California. My mother, noticing that I was dancing and twirling like my older sister, eventually put me into Jo Reid's dance class too.

Jo's classes were a combination of tumbling, tap, and ballet. We would usually start off with ballet, then go to the tumbling mat that Jo would set out in the middle of the room. After every child had had a chance to do a summersault, a cartwheel, and a backbend we would put on our tap shoes and learn a few steps. All of this activity took place within forty-five minutes or so. We never got bored and we were always excited to switch to the next activity.

Jo later founded a studio in the middle of Soquel, California. I grew up in her studio with a brief hiatus during Junior High when I thought I was too cool to take dance classes. Quickly realizing the error of my ways, I started taking her dance classes again in the middle of eighth grade, and studied with Jo Reid until I left to earn my bachelors in Modern Dance from the University of Utah. Joe is the one who taught me to love dance and love myself, because she loved and found the good in almost everyone.

Every year Jo Reid School of Dance held a recital at the Cabrillo College Theater. I have fond memories of learning the dances for the recital where Mothers were enlisted to sew the costumes. Jo, also, spent hours and hours sewing costumes, and organizing the annual performance.

My strongest memory is when at about eight years old, I wanted to perform a solo. Right before I was to go on, I told Jo that I didn't want to do it. Not taking no for an answer, Jo literally pushed me out onto the stage where I stood there frozen. Once the music began, I sang the song "Born Free," speech impediment and all (unable to pronounce the letter 'R'). Then, I performed the dance I had choreographed, for some mysterious reason there seemed to be more music than choreography. I must have rushed through the dance and had to improvise until the music ended.

Jo did me the biggest favor of my dancing life that night. She could have easily just skipped over my dance and gone on to the next number. She could have let me give in to fear and let me fail, but she forced me out there and when the audience clapped I felt the most incredible sense of accomplishment I'd ever felt in my young life. Frankly, no other dance accomplishment compares to what that little girl experienced, all because of the intelligent and compassionate choice my lovely and kind dance teacher made.

No other teacher in my whole dance career came close to Jo. Now, in the mature years of my own life, I still think of her almost every day. She was a keystone in the bridge of my life and I am fortunate to have known her. She passed on to me and all of her students excitement, kindness, and love, for which I am forever grateful. Later on, when other dance teachers sought to tear me down, I'd think of the love Jo Reid gave me, and the love of dance she had instilled in me, which saw me through some very difficult times in my dance career.


Article About Jo Reid