Dear Elder Dancers

 

Dear Elder Dancers,

Please keep dancing. I equate you to cooking. When we first begin cooking, we have a mold/pan (the dance style), the recipe (the technique) and the seasonings (your style, emotion, and embodiment). At first, we stick to using the same pan and same recipe. It can take many years and many burnt pans to get better, but eventually we start to venture by adding our own unique seasonings to the recipe. Suddenly, there’s a unique dish that although is recognizable by all who enjoy it, it is uniquely our own. People can appreciate and remember your special dish because of the way it tasted to them. Your family may even pass it down from generation from generation. Those who follow the recipe might add our own seasonings to fit our unique palettes, but ultimately, the inspiration comes from those who created the original.

So please, keep dancing.

I’ve been watching a lot of you lately. Your presence embodies something that I yearn for, that I too want to embody. I want to know the secret seasonings but I want to pick my own mixture. The way you drop your shoulder towards the audience, the way you allow us into the conversation versus talking at us; you’re not trying to tell us how to enjoy the dance, you’re enjoying the dance and inviting in to enjoy it too.

So please, keep on dancing.

I hear you worry about still dancing publicly, whether you are too old, whether a few wrinkles spoil your show, or whether the younger dancer with “the look” might be better fit for the spotlight. But I watched you own your space, your dance, your lines, your emotions, and most importantly, your smile. Watching a dancer who has lived and embodied who they are, unapologetically, is one-million times more valuable and exciting to watch than a dancer who still follows the recipe.

So please, keep dancing.

We need to see our mentors owning aging, owning being human, owning the stages of life. When you worry, we worry. We try to cram as much dancing and events in “while we’re still in our prime” or before we become un-hirable for mainstream gigs instead of growing and learning. We become dancers, but not the dance. We become cooks, but not chefs.

Please keep dancing.

Continue performing for yourself, because only now do you have a beautiful, delectable, five-star dish. Continue performing for the audiences and younger dancers, for we will never know what good food is unless it is served to us by a chef that pours their heart and soul into their art. Please, fight for us too by performing, so when we get to the same level there is a platform to share our dishes with the generations to come.

So please, please keep on dancing.

~Amity Alize


Originally posted on raq-on.net on 2/1/2015

Time to shimmy in the new year!
Making a Positive Impression on Event Organizers

Comments 4

 
Super User on Saturday, 30 April 2016 10:50

Great article, thank you, I'm an advocate for keeping on keepin on

Great article, thank you, I'm an advocate for keeping on keepin on
Darrah on Monday, 10 October 2016 19:34

Im 70 and still dancing and will continue until I can't anymore!!!!' I love it;)

Im 70 and still dancing and will continue until I can't anymore!!!!' I love it;)
Guest - LilithSophia on Monday, 10 October 2016 22:02

As an older dancer, I appreciate your sentiments and thank you for writing this article. I hear how you appreciate all that older dancers have done and that you want them to continue doing for the younger dancers. However, what I don't hear is what the younger dancers are willing to do for their elders. Are you (the generalized you, not you specifically. Amity) creating a place for your elders in your dance community? Accommodatimg their physical needs when collaborating? For that matter, inviting them to collaborate, inviting them to dance at your events? Showing deference and respect? Promoting their work? Standing up to ageism in your dance community? I ask because I have seen plenty of the opposite.
Yes, we elder dancers have a lot to offer. What are you all willing to give back to keep us performing?

As an older dancer, I appreciate your sentiments and thank you for writing this article. I hear how you appreciate all that older dancers have done and that you want them to continue doing for the younger dancers. However, what I don't hear is what the younger dancers are willing to do for their elders. Are you (the generalized you, not you specifically. Amity) creating a place for your elders in your dance community? Accommodatimg their physical needs when collaborating? For that matter, inviting them to collaborate, inviting them to dance at your events? Showing deference and respect? Promoting their work? Standing up to ageism in your dance community? I ask because I have seen plenty of the opposite. Yes, we elder dancers have a lot to offer. What are you all willing to give back to keep us performing?
Dianne on Thursday, 13 October 2016 21:50

I dance because I love to dance. I don't really care that I might not conform. When I watch any dancer of any age perform I enjoy their way of dancing. I take from their dance anything that is me and I hope that they would do the same for me. I am 68 years young. Dancing helps to keep me young and fit. As for the snide remarks that come from time to time? Well sometimes they prick a bit but I just think to myself " You don't know what you are missing!!" ;)

I dance because I love to dance. I don't really care that I might not conform. When I watch any dancer of any age perform I enjoy their way of dancing. I take from their dance anything that is me and I hope that they would do the same for me. I am 68 years young. Dancing helps to keep me young and fit. As for the snide remarks that come from time to time? Well sometimes they prick a bit but I just think to myself " You don't know what you are missing!!" ;)
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