Former dancer shares joy with others
Published 1:00 pm Monday, March 28, 2016
By LISA LAW
AMERICUS — Pauline Beall, 77, exhibits a state of dignity and poise, as she makes her way through the corridors of Magnolia Manor and past the nurse’s station, en route to her room.
Beall, a retired professional dancer, is eagerly looking forward to Easter as she awaits the end of the rehabilitative services she has been receiving.
Beall spent most of her childhood and early adulthood in her homeland of Liverpool, England, where she enjoyed many Easters among the rhododendrons, one of her favorite flowering shrubs of lavender, yellow, white and reds.
“I remember it being so beautifully in bloom,” she said explaining the flowering shrubs were similar to azaleas. Beall added she lived very close to two parks, Princess and Sefton Park, and enjoyed many days mesmerized by the brilliant blossoms there.
She said sadly, she did not remember many Easters until after World War II.
“There was a lot of rationing,” she said, explaining that after the war life became a little more memorable, with Easter consisting of Cadbury Chocolate molded into the form of an egg and decorated with colorful candy.
Beall said she was five or six years old, and remembers her Easter’s consisting of attending their Anglican church in her Sunday best clothing. After communion they would spend the rest of the day eating lunch and dinner and hunting and eating candy eggs.
“I loved celebrating with Marzipan cake, a Simmel cake,” she said, describing the fruit cake with two layers of almond paste or marzipan, one in the middle and one on top, that is toasted, and eaten during the Easter period in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and some other countries. The cake was originally made for the middle Sunday of Lent, when the 40-day fast would be relaxed, Laetare Sunday, also known as Refreshment Sunday, Mothering Sunday, Sunday of the Five Loaves, and Simmel Sunday.
Beall said she was raised by her parents, Enda and Reginal Gray.
“My dad owned a men’s clothing store in Liverpool. He sold the Beatles their first suits!” she said describing her dad coming home and telling her, “Chuck, he called me Chuck, you really ought to meet them, they are going places,” she said with a bright smile, adding she loved classical music but her favorite was rock music.
“The harder the rock the better,” she said. She said she attended a concert by Lover Boy at the Albany Civic Center, Foreigner and Moody Blues at a Tallahassee concert.
Beall said she lived in Liverpool until she married and moved to upstate New York to Ithaca. She went on to explain, with her British accent, meeting her husband at the Royal Tropical School of Medicine in Liverpool.
“We met at a university function. They were having a dance, “she said. She had attended the dance with someone else and ended up meeting her husband.
Beall said they eventually were married and three children later moved to New York, where her husband was employed as a professor at Cornell. She also said they moved on to Roanoke, Virginia, and then eventually settling in Albany, Georgia, in 1967 where her husband, who took another professor position at Albany State College.
Beall said she studied law while attending college, but never practiced law. She said her passion was dance, a passion which originated during her childhood, while in Liverpool, where she studied with Madam Johnson.
Beall said she taught dance most of her life which consisted of ballad, point, tap and jazz.
“I taught dance at Albany State and the last 10 years of my dance career was.” Beall also performed as a singer for the Albany Chorale for 30 years.
“I joked with people, telling them I never practiced law because I was perfect the way I am,” she said, laughing as she describes the overall gratification she receives from former students.
“I receive many cards. And one of my former students, Brie Cooley Bjerregaard, visits me regularly,” she said.
Beall said on a serious note, describing how she felt as she dances, “I did a solo at one of the recitals,” a song by the band Metallica.
“Up there in the spotlight, you’re a million miles away. Every ounce of energy you try to give away,” she said. “I did it on point which seemed unlikely given that kind of music. Many said, that was jazz. No, that is just dance.”
Beall said while dancing she felt a joy like no other. She said a pastor once told her, “You have given so much joy to so many people.”
Beall ended by saying, “Joy is God. And God is joy.”
She will spend this Easter by attending communion at Magnolia Manor and she intends on continuing to spread joy.