Dancing phase is a term that refers to protests or demonstrations when they have reached their ridiculous end stage. It originates from an Anatolian folk story. As the tale goes, a merciless sultan puts taxes up. Every time the tax collector goes to the village, the villagers beg him to spare them, but taxes keep going up until the villagers starve. Then one day, the tax collector arrives to find the villagers dancing. He reports to the sultan, “We have to stop raising taxes because the villagers are now in the dancing phase.”

I’d like to think that we don’t have to reach such crazy ends to keep dancing. Yet it is remarkable how the history of dance reveals many phases of prohibition. What authorities forbid the enjoyment of dance? The range spans institutions to religions to parents. What does it mean to  move through space, both in terms of dance and in life? Dance  can be  purposeful, serious, healing, transgressive, and inclusive. However it is often considered loose. Those authorities fear the physical expression of the unrestrained.

Throughout my life I have enjoyed the positive benefits of dance. I was attracted to write about Lucia Joyce, daughter of James Joyce, because she was forbidden that enjoyment.


Shirley Anne Montgomery – maiden name

Shirley Palmer – married name

Women are used to name changes. Do you keep your maiden name? Do you change your last name when married?

Nominative Determinism is an offshoot of Carl Jung’s theory of a suggestive effect that names have on their subject. Would changing your name effect your character?

Do you know someone with the last name Rainbow? I recently saw that surname in the obituary section of the newspaper. My response was surprise as I was unaware of it as a proper name. As an author I might record that name to keep for future use. The character would be optimistic and hopeful.

My main character’s name is Shirley Anne Montgomery which is a amalgam of a character and an author, both well known in Canadian literature. She never grows old. Shirley Missed out on many adventures, but in the end, she missed out on growing old.

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Donna M. Wootton – Canadian Author