Dancing for a Queen
Erinn R. Barcomb
The Eudora News
Although many people may claim the title "Dancing Queen," Elizabeth Durkin can claim dancing for one.
On a trip to England this summer, Durkin, a Eudora High School graduate and a sophomore at Berea College, about 45 minutes from Lexington, Ky., performed dances with a troupe from her college just feet away from Queen Elizabeth II. The performance was part of a celebration recognizing 50 years of the queen's rule.
Their schedule kept them booked.
"We danced three to four times a day," she said. "It was crazy. At the end of the day, you just fell into the bed."
For 25 days, the group of dancers 11 men and 11 women traveled to different festivals.
"We went all over the southeast mostly," Durkin said. "We performed at these jubilee festivals. We performed at some schools, too."
The real highlight, Durkin said, was performing for the queen at the outdoor jubilee in Oxford. The group, which dances mainly folk dances, performed two English, two American and two Danish dances.
"It was about 20 feet from her," Durkin said. "She was never by herself. There was a lot of security."
The group didn't even know they would dance for the queen until they got to England, Durkin said.
"She only picked about 20 (acts)," she said. "It was really a big surprise."
Does dancing for royalty make even a seasoned dancer nervous?
"At first, it was," Durkin said. "When I got out there, though, it was like a regular performance."
The dancers had to take about five costumes a piece, leaving little room for other clothes.
"We bought a lot of clothes while we were there," she said. "I bought (my sister) Jenny a shirt and wore it."
In addition to dancing engagements, Durkin and her fellow travelers had the chance to see the sites of England, too.
"I think I liked Warwick Castle best because it was very pretty," she said. "It was beautiful. It's in a bunch of fairy tales."