What Youth Tellers Want & Need – Part 4 of 7

This is the fourth of seven parts on gleaming from personal experiences as well as experiences of the 100+ youth who have taken the stage – live and virtual – through Story Crossroads since 2016. We support youth beyond the stage through Youth Teller Reunions as well as Live & Virtual Story Camps.


  • Part 1 – Choosing the “Right” Words – REVEALED
  • Part 2 – Friend/Listener/Mentor – REVEALED
  • Part 3 – The Storytelling Birthday – REVEALED
  • Part 4 – Combining Talents – TODAY
  • Part 5 – Ownership of Events & Beyond
  • Part 6 – Virtual Options
  • Part 7 – Wishlist Stages

Youth have more than one talent, and storytelling is one of many.

When it is the first time for youth to learn storytelling, then focusing only on that talent is best. Though the second, third, fourth, or any other time after that initial instruction needs to be exploring what the youth enjoys beyond the art.

One of my favorite combinations was a youth teller who told a personal story while doing Karate. Obviously, Karate was important to the movement of the plot. He had the right amount of kicks that enhanced rather than distracted from the whole experience. He ended up being one of my top youth tellers for that year of Story Crossroads and moved along to the National Youth Storytelling.

We have plenty of adults that combine other talents with storytelling.

Although coming from an adult, I have always been fascinated by what Dustin Loehr contributed to the storytelling world with merging his tap dancing to the tellings. I could tell you of the time when he flew into Utah, needed a tap board, and I was scrounging and taking pictures of different wood panels to see if they “would pass inspection” the day before performance….

Though once on stage, his way of tip-tapping different sounds and postures to represent different characters was inspiring. We certainly will want him to perform at Story Crossroads again.

Any talent can combine with storytelling.

Music and dance are always brought to mind, though what are different genres and styles?

To get the brain-a-bubblin’, here are some music: Blues, Jazz, Rock and Roll, Country, Soul, Dance Music, Hip Hop.

Normal, right?

Notice that dance and music often overlap.

Have you heard of: Enka, Isicathamiya, or Frevo?

Here is a highlight of one of them, and I will let you explore and learn about the other two.

Enka = Japanese semi-traditional singing style and folk wardrobe, mixed with modern and traditional instrumentation and influences…yet see some youth at a pep rally combine this style with “Let’s move” by Beyoncé – could there be some kind of combination with storytelling? Though, experience Enka and an interview with the singer, Hitomi Idemitsu…and the reason she is attracted to this style is that “Enka has stories in it.” Hmmm.

What about in the dance world: Contemporary, Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Ballroom.

Though have you heard of: Demi-Character, Bugg, or Ghumura?

Again, here is a highlight of one of them, and I will let you explore and learn about the other two.

Demi-Character = Classic ballet though must focus and portray a character in a…story, many competitions are out there for it and here is one youth with a “swimmingly” wonderful story dance.

Back to the youth in your life.

More talents are out there than music and dance. What else could youth combine with storytelling and draw them more so in the art than ever before?

  • Photography – with big enough pictures, projections on stage, or virtual means – this talent can be amazing with storytelling. Plus, I recently learned about PechaKucha.
  • Cooking – sometimes the cooking can be shared after the performance – the aromas can enhance the overall experience – or can be shared on screen of making/baking while telling. So many food stories around the world. David Novak had bread baking in an important Gilgamesh scene. Here is an article about it.
  • Fashion – how can the change of wardrobe help in the telling of a story – can more than one teller take the stage or can this be done solo – Pippa White (interview with her – she admits she did not call herself a storyteller until later) loves to do a simple switch of hats for historical representations while Darci Tucker (interview with her) has been three characters in one performance due to strategic layering. Why cannot youth do this with a twist? Does it always need to be historical…perhaps modern or even futuristic? We had youth tell 1-minute or so stories for the Story Train that stopped to the past, present, and future. The youth had to dress up to match their time period and story. The future ones…were fantastic. Actually, all were wonderful.

And this is only a sneak of talents that can make it to stage or performance in one way or another.

Brainstorm with youth.

Are they great at foreign languages? Can there be bilingual storytelling? What of visual arts beyond photography? Pottery? How can that tell a story?

How can anything truly be used to tell a story?

Yes, teach the basics of storytelling without the combining first…though there is no harm is letting youth know that you love their fill-in-the-blank talent and hint that you would love to see what they do with it for storytelling after learning how to do “pure” storytelling without the embellishments or add-ons.

You will be amazed.

Be there for our youth – today.

Find our E-Newsletter and Email List Sign-Ups.

See our already-streamed/recorded The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities. See our 5-video playlist from the Story Crossroads Spectacular by clicking here.

And…Spread the word about our upcoming Story Camp for youth aged 8-17 in mid-August of two kinds: Limited-Sized/Proper-Distanced as well as Virtual.

Storytelling meets Humanities, Elements Within–Part 6 of 7 – countdown to The Big Why

This is the sixth of seven parts on disciplines/elements of Humanities that can be found in the Art of Storytelling. This is also a countdown to virtual “The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities” on Saturday, June 20, 2020 from 9:00am-10:30am MDT.

Storytelling meets Humanities, Elements Within:

  • Part 1 – Archaeology – REVEALED
  • Part 2 – Communication/Interpretation – REVEALED
  • Part 3 – Cultural Studies – REVEALED
  • Part 4 – Folklore/Folklife – REVEALED
  • Part 5 – History – REVEALED
  • Part 6 – Languages/Linguistics – TODAY
  • Part 7 – Philosophy/Ethics

Languages are verbal, written and/or visual ways for humans to communicate. Linguistics is exploring the unique aspects, nuances, and behaviors due to language expressed by humans.

Over 6,500 languages are spoken and used in the world today. Languages can come and go depending on how hard preservation and perpetuation is sought. Every language has a beauty and history to it. Though, you may be curious as to the 20 Most Spoken Languages in the World.

While we have offered American Sign Language interpretation since the beginning, there are at least 134 other sign languages. This blog post put together by Gemma Matheson compares several alphabet sign languages.

Story Crossroads has two storytelling academic series with one being called “Language of Story.” Each year, we have focused on a different language/culture and how it relates to oral storytelling. So far, we have explored American Sign Language (Dr. Dale H. Boam), Portuguese (Dr. De’bora Ferreira), German (Dr. Jeff Packer), and will do Hungarian in 2021 (Dr. Csenge Zalka).

As storytellers and story producers of events–or no matter your background–we encourage more than one language to be featured. Look into bilingual or multi-lingual opportunities. Reach out to foreign language teachers and have youth develop pieces. See who learned English as a second language and inspire people to tell stories in their first language. Be creative.

Linguistics is fairly new as a discipline, emerging more in the early 1900s. Yet, linguistics as always existed and has had influence over a society that impacts from economics to politics to education and with cultural studies.

The Storytelling Masters Program at East Tennessee State University has a class entitled “Storytelling Linguistics” that used to be known as “READ 5190” when housed under the Education Department. While taking this course, classmates posted different linguistic situations. Though this was back in 2009, I was “wrestling with words” on what to call what has now been deemed “Story Crossroads.”

I have Karl Behling to thank on permission to use “Story Crossroads,” his fantastic idea at our inaugural Community Planning Meeting in June 2014 with 28 community leaders ranging from education to civics to the arts.

We will eventually be called “World Story Crossroads” for once every four years with the “off” years being “Story Crossroads.”This is when we are more global as a 6-day event representing the 6 major continents.

Discover the debates on what words to use and reasoning here. Note that I decided that “World Story ______________” was definite at that time.

At the end of this piece, I also explained some history of words: practice, rehearsal, premiere, festival, exposition (expo), conference, venue, stage, slam, and fringe.

Through the University of Luxembourg, a study was published involving bilingual children and how their oral and literary competency improved through storytelling. Though, the best results were when oral storytelling was practiced at the nursery school and at home. While not using the word “linguistics,” the teacher basically told her students to draw upon “their entire linguistic repertoire.” Discover more at the article “Storytelling at home and at the nursery school: A study of bilingual children’s literacy practices” by Claudine Kirsch.

So discover another language. Understand how language has evolved. See how you feel when one word, phrase, or language compared to another. Choose to celebrate the differences and what unifies us in the language of story.

We will be doing this 7-part Blog Series on Storytelling and connections with the Humanities as a countdown to our next adventure--join us on Saturday, June 20, 2020 from 9:00am-10:30am MDT from your computer- The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities. Our panelists, as pictured above, are: Dr. Caroliese Frink Reed, Sheila Arnold, Darci Tucker, and Brian “Fox” Ellis. We are grateful to funding from Utah Humanities.

See our 5-video playlist from the Story Crossroads Spectacular by clicking here.

Outsider-Orator – A to Z Blog Challenge

Rachel Hedman--laughing


Versión en Español se puede encontrar a continuación o haga clic aquí para ir allí. Haga clic en mí para saltar a la parte española.  Support the free Story Crossroads Festival by giving today.

This post is part of the A to Z Blog Challenge.  See more at http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/.

A person from the Ojibwe tribe can tell stories from Argentina.  A Maasai can tell stories from the Ojibwe tribe.  An Argentine person can tell stories from the Maasai.  A Dutch person can tell stories from Sierra Leone.

Or can these people do such things?

I am an Outsider-Orator.  Thus, I am at risk of being disliked or hated by others.  Though, I choose to be an Outsider-Orator because I love the whole human family.

What is an Outsider-Orator?  An Outsider-Orator is someone who tells stories that is not of their immediate heritage or ancestry.  I like to emphasize “immediate” as digging deep enough means we are all related to each other and really have all cultures within us.  The Outsider-Orator is always under scrutiny of those who feel strongly that people need to tell stories only of their immediate culture.  We will take the same three ways that were mentioned in the “Native-Narrator” blog post (click here for it) and see how this now changes for the Outsider-Orator.

Use of Language & Garb

An outsider using another language is usually not frowned upon as long as the meaning and pronunciations are accurate.  Of all the areas that an Outsider could use, this stirs the least amount of disdain.  Now the garb is a whole different matter.  Some traditional clothing is considered sacred and having an Outsider wear them is considered irreverent or something even more serious like desecration.  Before adorning oneself is traditional garb, check to see the significance of each piece.  It might be better to wear regular clothing while telling these stories.

Use of Geography

Even above the use of language, telling and showing where the story comes from is crucial.  An Outsider must not omit such information for the audience.  While it is assumed where the story comes from for the Native-Narrator, the audience will not have any such assumptions for stories outside of the storyteller’s culture.  It may only take a line or two to acknowledge this part.  Delving deeper into the scenery of the land is welcomed as well.  The Outsider-Orator, if large parts of the repertoire come from a certain country, could plan on traveling to that land to be more knowledgeable.  This is much like how foreign language teachers travel to those countries to give a fuller and more accurate experience for their students.

Use of Social Aspects & Values

This is a scary area for Outsider-Orators.  Yes, there are universal values and ideas.  Most social aspects and values are hard to understand for Outsider-Orators.  Be careful of laying upon a message that was not intended by the culture from which the story originates.  If you must say this message, then be clear that this is coming from you and not from that culture.  Of course, most stories need to be shared without any mention of a message.  The listeners will take from the story what they most need from it.

Consider the human family.  Are you respecting the culture that you are performing on stage?  Do you truly respect this outside culture or was it just a fun story you stumbled upon?  You must research.  By doing so, you will have higher ethical standards than many Outsider-Orators out there.  I fall in the “Outsider-Orator” category many times.  Give pause and give respect.

Aquí lo tiene.
Rachel Hedman--laughing
Narrador Extraño

Una persona de la tribu Ojibwe puede contar historias de Argentina. Un Masai puede contar historias de la tribu Ojibwe. Una persona argentino puede contar historias de los Maasai. Un neerlandés puede contar historias de Sierra Leona.

O puede hacer estas personas tales cosas?

Soy un Narrador Extraño. Por lo tanto, estoy en riesgo de ser detestadas u odiado por otros. Sin embargo, elijo ser un Narrador Extraño porque me encanta toda la familia humana.

¿Qué es un Narrador Extraño? Un Narrador Extraño es alguien que cuenta historias que no es de inmediato su patrimonio o ascendencia. Me gusta destacar “inmediata” como excavar lo suficientemente profundo significa que todos estamos relacionados entre sí y tienen realmente todas las culturas dentro de nosotros. La Narrador Extraño siempre está bajo escrutinio de aquellos que creen firmemente que la gente necesita para contar historias sólo de inmediato su cultura. Tomaremos la misma tres maneras que se menciona en la sección “Narrador Nativo” blog post (haga clic aquí) y ver cómo esta ahora cambia para el Narrador Extraño.

El uso de la Lengua & Vestido

Un Narrador Extraño utilizando otro lenguaje usualmente no es reprobado como siempre que su significado y pronunciaciones son exactos. De todas las áreas que un intruso podría utilizar, esto suscita la menor cantidad de desdén. Ahora la ropa es una cuestión totalmente diferente. Algunos trajes tradicionales es considerada sagrada y tener un outsider usan es considerado irreverente o algo más serio como la profanación. Antes de adornarse es tradicional vestido, compruebe para ver el significado de cada pieza. Sería mejor llevar ropa normal mientras le decía estas historias.

Uso de la Geografía

Incluso por encima del uso de la lengua, diciendo y mostrando que la historia viene de es crucial. Un forastero no debe omitir esa información para el público. Si bien se supone que la historia viene de para el Narrador Nativo, la audiencia no tendrá ningún tales suposiciones para historias fuera del narrador de la cultura. Sólo puede tener una o dos líneas para reconocer esta parte. Profundizando en el paisaje de la tierra es acogido tan bien. Un Narrador Extraño, si gran parte del repertorio proceden de un país determinado, podría planea viajar a ese país para estar más informado. Esto se parece mucho a cómo los profesores de lenguas extranjeras viajar a esos países para dar una experiencia más completa y precisa para sus alumnos.

Utilización de Aspectos Sociales & Valores

Esta es un área para Narradors Extraño asustadiza. Sí, hay valores universales e ideas. La mayoría de los aspectos sociales y los valores son difíciles de entender para Outsider-Orators. Tenga cuidado a la hora de sentar a un mensaje que no fue pensada por la cultura de la cual procede el relato. Si debe decir este mensaje, entonces claro que esto proviene de usted y no de esa cultura. Por supuesto, la mayoría de las historias deben ser compartidos sin ninguna mención de un mensaje. Los oyentes se tomará de la historia lo que más necesitan de él.

Considere la posibilidad de la familia humana. Hay que respetar la cultura que se están realizando en el escenario? ¿verdaderamente respeten esta fuera la cultura o es simplemente una historia divertida, terminas en? Usted debe de investigación. Al hacerlo, usted tendrá mayor normas éticas que muchos Narradors Extraño ahí fuera. Me caen en la categoría de “Narrador Extraño” muchas veces. Dar pausa y darle sentido.