ST JOHN'S BALL, ADELAIDE, STH AUSTRALIA
Featuring Trace Canini - May 2008
Dot, Trace Canini, and her manager Priscilla Fargher ........................................................ Dot with her jewellery
Trace Canini became friends with Dot after Dot attended "The Gospel According to Elvis" in Brisbane in which Trace was the lead female vocalist. Trace had stayed in touch with Dot and was one of her most ardent supporters.
In her young days, Dot regularly attended country Balls and even made her own outfits but after she married and had a large family, the chance didn't often arise for that sort of fun. When Trace posted information on her web site that she was the headline singer at the St. John's Ball in Adelaide where she lived, instantly it seemed like a phenomenal experience for Dot. She would be able to relive the magic of going to a Ball, dressing up glamorously, having her hair done, buying a corsage, hearing music of the Swing Era which was the theme of the Ball, flying on a plane to Adelaide and experiencing all the new sights that that city has to offer. The plane trip over is only 2 hrs and planning in advance enables inexpensive air fares. The rewards of just "doing it" are infinite!
Before leaving Brisbane, Dot had a manicure and pedicure along with an hour aromatherapy massage to invigorate her. She also had pampering in a beauty salon in Adelaide with professional hairstyling and make up. Her corsage had been ordered online from Brisbane and was just a case of collecting. Remembering that Dot is in a wheelchair and is unable to communicate, it was a gift that she had overcome all the obstacles in her life to enable her to be there.
The Ball was a Black and White theme and the room was so elegantly presented with high vases of orchids everywhere. Trace and the organisers of the St Johns Ball had arranged for Dot to be a VIP - i.e. she was given her own waitress and a front row table. The music was all of the Swing Era which would have resonated with Dot and there was a long segment where talented dancers demonstrated many swing era dances.
There were 300 people at the Ball and when it came time for Trace to perform her songs (picture above right), she related the story of Dot coming to Adelaide for the Ball and then dedicated a song to her. An absolutely priceless moment and an honour for Dot.
The couple in the above left photo were partners in the demonstration swing dances. Out of all the people at the Ball, I had had the thought to ask them to come to Dot's table for a photo, which they did. As often happens with Dot's magic, not long after that, the winner of the door prize - a $2,500 diamond necklace and ring - was drawn and it just happened to be that lady I'd photographed with Dot. The couple later got Dot up for a dance on the dance floor, even though it was just swaying, it was still a rare, touching moment. Trace also gave Dot a dance by supporting her weight and just moving slowly.
In the above right photo, the blonde girl had been another of the demonstration dancers and she had noticed Dot's jewellery from the stage. At the end of the night, she came over simply to complement her on how beautiful it was. Before leaving Brisbane had not found any jewellery to suit her new outfit and literally the last thing before walking out the door, was to check her old jewellery case. Found the ones in the photo which would have been at least 40 years old. They were badly tarnished and had a few stones missing. Still took them anyway and through unbelievable synchronisity, found a jeweller in Glenelg, Sth Australia to repair them the morning of the Ball.
Dot's corsage .. she had the full Ball experience with all the trimmings ... just as she had in her youth.
While in Adelaide, Dot was able to experience the difference that is Adelaide. The stone buildings, the history, the different trees and flowers, the invigorating chilliness in the air, the pristine countryside and the charming small towns. On one drive, she was coming back into Adelaide just after dark and from the high mountain road, all the lights of Adelaide were sparkling below. She looked across to me and smiled. At the same time, there was a lovely song playing on the CD.
Boarding the plane to leave Adelaide, Dot's smile seemed to acknowledge that the Ball had been a memorable experience.
Trace and Dot caught up with each other a year later, April 2009. In the time Trace has known Dot, she hasn't heard Dot say a single word. Sometimes words don't matter .. there are connections on other levels. There is something about Dot that welcomes people into her life, even though she has no life skills .. there is just the expression in her eyes.
At the same time, Dot met Trace's son, Triniti Jazz Canini ..
he was going to be accompanying his mother at an upcoming show.
This night he sang the song "Born To Believe" to Dot in his kitchen.