Gerissa of the Glitra (1552-1615), also known popularly as Gerissa "Goldenarse", was a much-sought-after Centoraurian entertainer in the city of Milkengrad a generation ago (around the turn of the last century). A talented Fan Dancer who also performed with a blue glitra (most likely a dyed chicken with glued-on peafowl primaries!) and her own skin - which apparently was an unusual deep orange colour.
Picture description. The dancer Gerissa of the Glitra with the typical dancer's fan. Image drawn by Enayla.
1552 b.S. Born in Cemphiria, a small town outside
Nothing more is known about her family or her early background.
1560 b.S. Discovered by a minstrel whose name has not come down to us, brought to Milkengrad, and started her stage career as a child singer.
1565 b.S. Began dancing, trained under Lystra Earthsong, the eccentric vegetarian performer, at Earthsong Dance Hall in eastern Milkengrad. Demonstrated an aptitude for the Nine-Cycle Fan Dance, said to have been developed by Manthrian court ladies during the Golden Age of Santharia, and quickly became a mistress of its elaborate hand motions, hip rotations, and fan manipulations.
1568–1574 b.S. Peak of her popularity and creative ability. Mostly famous for her Blue Glitra Dance, in which she performed under bright stage oillamps, clad only in her own golden-orange skin and a "Blue Glitra". (Thus her popular, or street name, although she would never condone its use in her presence…)
1581 b.S. Retired from active dancing to become Lystra's right-hand dance trainer. Some of Gerissa's innovative and demanding choreography is still danced and taught today by women who studied under her. Began a small import business in affordably-priced jewelry and dancewear.
1585 b.S. Took over the dance school from Lystra and renamed it "Grace of the Glitra". She also expanded her business ventures into cosmetics and fresh produce, procuring exotic vegetables from either end of the continent for consumption by the nobles of Milkengrad and other major cities.
1615 b.S. Died at 63 years of age, apparently painlessly, but with as much drama as she put into everything else. Her demise occurred during the opening run of "Rathenstern", a dramatic dance performance for which she had provided much of the choreography. She was found in her private box after the curtain had closed, sitting bolt-upright in her lavish chair with flowers around her and a box of kao-kao-covered sunseeds in her right hand. Her dark eyes were closed, her then-white hair impeccably groomed, and a delighted smile was still on her lips.
Importance. Gerissa was one of the best-known entertainers of her age, and helped to bridge the gap between "common" tastes and "noble" performances. She was popular with all classes, and one might expect to find both earls and fishmongers at one of her dance exhibitions. Her peculiar taste in foodstuffs to this day has never achieved popular acclaim, but it has encouraged an entire generation of women to add more vegetables and fruit to their diet in the hopes that their skin would become as glowing and their figures as supple – and indeed, there seems to be some evidence to that end. At any rate, the sages say it can’t hurt you, so this chronicler is tempted to try…
Gerissa’s business ventures also helped to establish some of the current trade routes upon which we now depend for some of our resource relationships, and encouraged economic prosperity in the Milkengrad region.
Nor must we neglect her impact upon the turn-of-the-last-century poets, who had quite a bit to say about her golden skin, especially in contrast with the iridescent blue feathers of her companion "Glitra". Envious reigning beauties claimed it was dye, but no one seems to have made the possible connection with her diet, which was said to be primarily made up of fresh fruit and vegetables, mostly carroots. A few of the better-known lines she inspired are given below.
“…and lissome-limbed the beauty sways / in amber flesh and ebon hair/ my heart irregular betrays / the beat of beauty. Ah, beware!...”
(Trimsl Aud Wikkerink, “Through Fire”, 1577)
“Blue feathers swinging / Gerissa singing / goldenbards ringing / on stage and on floor / Black hair is curling / Gerissa swirling / gold limbs unfurling / her mouth a sweet door /
Red lips are curving / Gerissa swerving / Would I were serving / her body’s request!
Golden hips swaying/ Gerissa playing / arms out a-raying / of dancers the best…”
(Merchane Hieronought, “Blue Feathers Swinging”, 1569)
“My luck’s a-turnin’, jolly boys / the dice are fairly square and bright!/
With money in me pouch I’ll see / Gerissa Goldenarse tonight!”
(An anonymous street song of the times, around 1570)
Information provided by Bard Judith