When an entertainer is blessed with the gifts of singing, dancing, and acting, they have truly been blessed in a triplet’s time. Of course, these gifts are Universal. The Creator is pleased with them. You find people all over the world, who have been blessed with these three sources of entertainment. When the artistry of migration moves within the mix, one will find another obstacle in having to adjust and learn the performances of other cultures, in finding success in the entertainment industry.
Yes, my Darlings! We are still in Poland, for our latest feature. Nevertheless, I don’t think you will be disappointed. On the contrary, such a Polish dame brings an intriguing feature to the arena of entertainment. Her story is another reminder into how coming from a place of pain, trial, and loss also has its place in the exploration of creativity. In fact, it always does!
One of the fascinating features of this woman is moved outside of her own culture, in order to perform in the cultures of others. Pretty interesting for a young, Polish girl, who was orphaned, and immigrated to the States, with her foster parents. Nevertheless, that’s the fascinating delight of the arts. They lead you into other cultures; all the while immersing with other people. It is especially in the realms of singing and dancing, which has a nature about movement. There is something about it, which imitates the realm of Universal movement. Going into our imaginative box, it feels as if they are invisible energies; blowing, stomping, or spreading healthy images around the spaces they occupy. These arts are more than entertainment. In fact, they are part of the healing arts. Anyone coming within its midst is sure to be delighted and healed. Entertainment can be a holistic delight. Yet, that’s only if you allow yourselves to be delighted.
If you couple an entertainer’s creative journey with migration, then you are sure to have an intriguing story on your hands. Movement from nation, and movement into culture; one not of your own, but is the foundation to your very career. Who would ever come to mind, but the Polish dame. . .
Her real name is Marianna Michalska. The area of Poland, where she had been born, is part of an area known as Galicia-Lodomeria. This area was part of an Austrian-Hungary area. Gray had become an orphan, which resulted in her moving to Milwaukee in 1909, with her foster parents. An arranged marriage met her at an early age. *sighs* In all fairness, Marianna Michalska did not experience the same level of hardship as other Polish dames, before her, during her childhood. She was blessed enough to have received the support of her stepparents. Simultaneously, we don’t know the level of agony she may have experienced when having lost her parents. Yet, after that point, she was protected. She was safe and loved.
Fast forward into her adult years, and one comes to move into another atmosphere of being a legendary dancer; known to mainstream, White American audiences in her performance of “the Shimmy.” Gilda Gray transitioned from vaudeville to being a film star; and it was between 1919-1936, where she started in many films.
What makes Gilda Gray’s career so fascinating is how she did try to explore new realms. When we step into the arena of dance, prominent audiences accredited her with having “discovered” “the Shimmy.” However, what is very gracious about Gilda Gray is that she did acknowledge her immersion with having studied Indigenous dances, from a particular Native culture in the United States of America. She accredited “the Shimmy,” to the people, where it derived from the people (and their feminine culture).
The very nutritious aspect in her having performed “the Shimmy” is that she acknowledged the dance to coming from one Indigenous culture, in her new home country. Rarely is such done, when it comes to the migration process, within the United States. And yet, here is a Polish dame, setting the example decades before. A person can only imagine other treasures of knowledge, that she had learned from this category of people. What impact did this have on her dance performances, within the healing realms? Its a fascinating question, don’t you think? We don’t know what such an experience must have been because we do not have her words. So, as usual, all we can do is. . .imagine! That’s the best we can do, for now.
Towards the latter portion of her career, we have the opportunity to observe how our beloved Gilda Gray was able to move into another perfume, a peculiar one, at that! In Black American gardens, this sacred scent is known as, Blues!
One such display of this performance came from her 1954 performance of “St. Louis Blues!” Its a known classic. Here we have a Polish dame moving into one facet of Black American culture and music. Furthermore, she is immersing within it into a later stage of her life. Watching the video for the performance of the song, “St. Louis Blues,” viewers observe just how playful Gilda Gray is, when it comes to her ability to still maintain that vibrant essence in her performance. She defies any limitations of age, and what is expected of her. Looking further at the video, it’s evident that Gray is a dame, simply having fun. She is just as vibrant as she was in her youth. Imitating that Deep South Blues texture of Black American women’s culture, she enters a different culture, and another world, temporarily. A person can only help, but to ponder upon the myriad thoughts roaming through her mind, in performing this sound, from a peculiar people. Had she heard of the Empress Of the Blues-Bessie Smith? Did she dabble in the recordings of the Mother Of the Blues-Ma Rainey? What was it like listening to Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday? A person can only ponder, and reflect back to what life was like, back then. In those times.
Gray’s performance is intriguing. She is very animated and vivacious throughout every rhythm and beat in the song. Using head gestures and moving, as if she is performing in the middle of a theatrical stage. She dances and sways to the rhythm and very beat of the trumpet 🎺🎺 in the background, while the piano 🎹🎹 keeps its beat. There is great harmony in the spacing, and the story of that St. Louis Blues’ woman comes to life. What allows Gilda Gray to perform the song, in the way that she can, is the acting, behind it. Gray is imitating the sound and charisma of a Black American woman, traveling through St. Louis. It becomes very clear, that it is very much what she is doing. Furthermore, she is also engaging in the narrative of being able to move through this traveling journey, from the depths of the Deep South; where Black American culture is birthed from. A person could really tell that Gilda Gray was truly immersed in the song, based on their body language and positioning, within the song. She moved through it, and acted through every word of its Being. Ah! Theater moves in the making. Animation moves in the making. Even in the blues, that surely occurs. There is a wealth of nurture and love, when it comes to immersing within that Blues culture of Black America’s riches. Travel stories, joy, and life’s pains start to unfold. Nevertheless, once a person maneuvers through it, they never come out the same.
Moving back down memory lane, Gilda Gray finds herself in the midst of the 1929 stock market crash. This lost of finances gave her the opportunity to dance at the Palace Theater in New York City. Clearly, dance was the nourishment for these difficult times. Isn’t it something? It seems that no matter the time, or period to come, the realm of dance always has the power to bring nourishment to a person’s wellness. Even during the most difficult of times, the artistry of dance brings forth a level of nutrition for the human Spirit. Whenever people feel down, dance contains that magical decor in moving people into another level of wellness. Dance gets people to feel good. Dance provides people with the power to move outside any of their circumstances. Whatever happens during the course of a given time, means that a person is granted the ability to move through the dynamics of the day. The hard times provides the tools and regiments for delving further into creative beauties.
Should we delve further into the creative artistry of dance, we come to witness just how intrinsic the method of dance is when it comes to healing. When a person dances, they engage in a ritual of cleansing. Every turn, spiral, and spontaneous movement allows a person to release toxicity from their spirit, emotions, and energy sectors. Dance is powerful. Its one of the greatest gifts from the Heavens, and the Creator of them. Its not a surprise that Gray was connected with this opportunity, during the time of the 1929 stock market crash. An interesting metaphor, is it not? When destruction comes, there is often a euphoric dynamic, where creativity moves in. There is a reclaiming into the mode of beauty and love. It means a person has the power to piece back together what has been broken. That’s the very nature of it all. Its the magic of creation and creativity. And, it happens at just the right time, with the right touch, of dance!
Gilda Gray’s artistry highlighted her humanity, as she worked to raise money for the nation of Poland. It’s fascinating to observe how people manage to stay connected to their home nations, while navigating their way into another country; another culture, at that. Furthermore, she managed to bring six Polish citizens to the United States; notably during the Cold War era. She reduced the cost of their education. She was honored by the nation of Poland, for assisting her countrymen and countrywomen, during World War II. What makes this migratory tale so intrinsic is the balance that Marianna Michalska was able to make among cultures within the United States, and her Polish nation. There was a great manner in observing how a person is able to move through different dynamics, foreign dynamics; while maintaining a close connection to their very foundation. It demonstrates that a person never loses that foundation with their roots. Truly, in the migratory tale of Gilda Gray, the nation of Poland never left her.
Again, we have another Polish dame, who navigated across terrain, in order to cross waters into a new life. It may have been scary, initially. Uncomfortable? Yes. Nevertheless, she was able to find comfort, in a foreign setting, and unfamiliar culture. What is also uncommon, is how she acknowledged, where she acquired inspiration from such cultures. Clearly, there was great nourishment in how she perceived herself, as a Polish woman. She was secure in her Polish identity. Therefore, it didn’t bother her, to acknowledge when she used dances or music 🎶🎶🎶 from the culture of others. In fact, one can only imagine that it was, the right thing, to do! It was an example of a woman, who is secure within herself. So secure, that she is able to use her words, in sharing in platform with others.
The more we continue to move through the legacy of Gilda Gray, the more we come to examine a versatile woman, who heavily immersed into the depth of the performing arts. Again, we have to look into the upheaval, of her earlier life. Her life may not have been as hard, or as painful, as other Polish legends, before her. Nevertheless, the imbalance that took place came from the loss of her birth parents. While she was protected shortly after, Gray was soon exposed to the depth of creativity; and when it comes to moving through pain and despair, one happens to find the treasures of it all. Yes! Through Gilda Gray, one finds a different kind of woman, who understood the richness of darkness, and the beauty laying within. Heaven and the Creator also locates beauty in beautiful, holistic, and dark things. Blackness also has its own form of aesthetics and healing. The difference is that Gilda Grey added the arena of dance into the mix. And dance is a powerful arena of moving and channeling holistic energy throughout any spacing. Dance transforms any given area. It spreads wellness among others, and glosses through the atmosphere of spreading healing. Match that with singing and acting, and you truly have a triple case of healing.
So, as we continue to dig further into the legacy of Gilda Gray, let’s always be reminded that movement is an art. Traveling from one nation to another is a form of artistry, in its own right. When a person conducts the work, in creating in artistry, and contributes back to the land of their migration, they have a different experience in their personal movement tale. It means that person has done the work in learning about those cultures, which have been there, prior to. When they maintain a holistic connection with their birth nations, validating themselves within those nations, they have created an authentic, migratory experience. It is based on equal acknowledgement and contribution of spacing. Gilda Gray not only performed a new world, but also danced, within it!