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Legacy Oral History Online Collection

Shawl Audio Clip and Transcript

Shawl Clip

FS: But I found that the little local schools in New Jersey were just not challenging enough. I just felt as though they kept you at the same few little steps for weeks on end. And I’d say yeah, got it; I was just very quick to grasp and put it in my body—which I had that facility. It also caused me to [??].

JF: Also teachers in those schools tend not to know so much.

FS: Right. So therefore I would get disenchanted and not want to go and I’d be making up my own thing to do.  Whenever there were school programs I was in there. By the way, I was a strange little kid because I wore tap shoes to school, and I used to be a junior policeman on the corner.  I was the only junior policeman who used to do tap steps while he was waiting for kids to cross.  

JF: That would make a lovely little piece.

FS: And I was chubby.

JF:  That would make a wonderful piece. You know, like Mammy[?] does those kinds of things.  “I was a crossing guard tap-dancer.” That would make a wonderful retrospective piece:  I was a crossing guard tap-dancer.

FS: There were parts of me that were quite shy and other parts of me that, when I was dancing, it all dropped away--meaning that I was so involved in what I was doing that I really, for some reason, didn’t care what other kids thought of what I was doing. It was just necessary that it was something for me to do.

©Museum of Performance + Design

Frank Shawl
Shawl Audio Clip and Transcript