Some girls vanquish ogres, some girls fly to space…
Not every girl dreams of being a princess. For example, Ella of Frell, featured in DCT’s ELLA ENCHANTED: THE MUSICAL, isn’t the best student at charm school. She is an independent thinker even as she suffers under the curse of obedience bestowed upon her by her fairy godmother.
Let’s face it, you can’t pigeonhole girls. We have wide and varied goals and dreams; just like our counterparts. Take Sally Ride…She was 32 when she boarded the Challenger STS-7 that would launch her into space, and propel her name into history.
Ride grew up a hard-working California girl whose favorite activities were reading books and playing tennis. She spent her childhood learning and adventuring as much as she possibly could. She graduated from college with two science degrees and one English degree (unfortunately, they don’t teach Gnomic or Elfian at Stanford so Ella would have been disappointed). At the age of 26, Ride embarked on her next adventure, applying to NASA’s Astronaut Candidate Program. Out of almost 8,000 applicants– most of which were men –she was one of 35 people who were accepted into the program. Even more shocking, she was one of only six accepted women!
“Young girls need to see role models in whatever career they may choose, just so they can picture themselves doing those jobs someday. You can’t be what you can’t see,” said Ride.
After training, training, and more training, she finally began living her dream. At least, she thought she was. Being a woman at NASA meant first serving as a ground communicator, and hoping to fly. Giving up never seemed easier, but for Ride, giving up was not an option. After working on the ground for two shuttle flights, she secured her place in history books in 1983 by becoming the first American woman to travel into space. However, one journey into space wasn’t enough for her. One year later Ride shattered records again by being the first woman to go into space not only once, but twice.
Throughout the years, she faced constant questions and critiques from everyone around her. “What kind of makeup will you bring to space with you?” “Will you cry if something goes wrong in the shuttle?” “Don’t you want to start a family instead of going to space?” Not once did these comments steer Ride away from her purpose. By refusing to listen to the world’s commands (like Ella), and pressing forward with her goals, she found her own voice and refused to let society choose how women and girls can and cannot succeed.
According to Ride, “All adventures, especially into new territory, are scary.” Every girl is capable of accomplishing greatness that will inevitably prompt questions and criticisms, but allowing fear to discourage your achievements is only accepting defeat. Some girls will travel into space, some will vanquish ogres, and some will simply use their voice for what they believe in. What can seem like one small step for women, can be one giant leap for humankind.
Want to learn more about Sally Ride, space, and our solar system? Check out these photo books co-written by Ride!
Written by Christine Bartkowski, DCT’s PR and Marketing Intern
ELLA ENCHANTED: THE MUSICAL
By Karen Zacarías
Music by Deborah Wicks La Puma
Adapted from the book by Gail Carson Levine
By special arrangement with Miramax
Jan. 25 – Feb. 24
Ages 6 and up
Ella of Frell is turning the traditional Cinderella story upside down! At birth, she was given the “gift” of obedience which forces her to do anything people command: whether that’s hopping on one foot all day or telling her best friend to just go away! As a teenager, strong-willed Ella chooses to reject this lifestyle as her fate and embarks on a quest to break the curse forever. Along the way, feisty Ella must outwit her evil stepsisters, escape hungry ogres, and save the prince before she can claim her real voice. In this fun and spirited musical extravaganza that stays true to the Newbery Honor book, children will discover the power of words while laughing, singing, and dancing out loud.