Sunday, December 27, 2009

* Aging on the Sly: Dance to the Muses.

What is it about dancers? Especially women dancers?

When Martha Graham was 95 she was received at a tea in the White House by whoever the First Lady was then. I recall hearing her interview.

At 95 you can fake a lot with make-up and hair color and false teeth and eye shadow and costume, but you can't fake voice. And the amazing thing about Martha Graham at 95 was not her legendary energy and dramatic profile, but her smoothe, elegant, uncracked-by-age voice. It was YOUTH itself.

And now we have Alicia Alonso, in her 90th year, 2009. She danced well into her seventies (although legally blind most of her career--she uses lights on stage to locate other performers and objects).

Madame Alonso (prima ballerina assoluta) is a triumph of will and talent over reality, including turning her unique facial features into a work of art. Even today at 90 she looks like Picasso painted her fractured face into a thing of drama and remark.

Graham's voice; Alonso's face?

Are these simply theatrical tricks to coy age into submission, or at least remission?

I wonder.

Perhaps it is because they spent so much of their life off their feet, and I don't mean reclining: I mean IN THE AIR.

There may be something in dance itself--or music (ever notice how long musicians live: Rubinstein, Casals, Stokowski, each at 95 still performing/teaching)--- which defies the leadening inertia of the body and elevates one to the level of the spheres: a kind of atom-like weightlessness.

Maybe "ingesting" music retards aging.

It is December 27, 2009.

Tomorrow I turn 65.

Turn up the Muses please.

We shall dance.

You and I.


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