I am not sure why what seems all of a sudden, this theme is surrounding me again, this issue of getting older, in general, and of being an older dancer. But here it is, almost everyday so far this year. I’m kicking into another enthralling whirlwind winter and spring time of touring, teaching and performing around the globe. And I do think about it, as I am coming into my crone years (exactly at what age does that happen, anyone know?!). I wonder how long I will be teaching and performing. I definitely have chosen to NOT be performing as much as I used to in the 1990’s and 2000’s, when my studio and the troupe and musicians were prolifically on fire! I was molten, a creative force with this dance. It was an amazing time for me, to be that industrious and abundant, as if the dance was oozing deliciously out of every pore and I was a conduit for some dance spirit (yea, I know, Bob Fosse, and then some!).
Now, I only want to be on stage when I have something soul and heartfelt to share. And because this amazing dance, the Tribal Bellydance, is not specifically about performing, part of me feels done with that era of my life. Tribal Bellydance is about the magic created when dancers move together and share in the spontaneous creation of the dance. The empowerment, the beauty, the being in the moment experience.
However, I will say that I am still a bit of a stage glutton on occasion; it has been a huge part of my existence since I was seven years old. And I do love dancing with my troupe. But teaching is where it is at for me. My heart sings and my soul breathes the dance to share it, and all that comes with the dance, that whole life style thing I’m always talking about! Teaching is my passion and my purpose.
And now the aging issue again. Really, I don’t want to get away from it, because we are all aging. I love life and all of its aspects. The other day I was interviewed by a magazine writer for an article about being an aging dancer. It is an important and thoughtful subject that comes up on occasion with my students, and more specifically my Collective Soul Intensive students—on honoring and dancing the passages of time as a dancer- those of the maiden, the mother, and the crone. A beautiful ritual to dance with, thoughtful of the many facets involved in life, and in the dance, our dance, my dance.
Age…I am reaching my 57th year come August. I have been dancing this dance for nearly 27 years. Wow…My man is turning 60 in a few days. His father is turning 90. His mother just passed on at age 87 and the day after that my mother was hospitalized with a near death trauma, also at 87…it seems the issue of age and mortality is stepping up. I am not afraid of death or my own mortality. I really love getting older. LIfe is good. I walk through each day with reverence and passion.
In my dance world, I teach dancers from ages 18 to 65 ish and over , and it is stupendously powerful, what this dance brings to all of us, this journey. One of my favorite bloggers, Susannah Conway, recently wrote about turning 41, and she in turned asked others to write about themselves and what is it like getting older for them. I have enjoyed reading the many journeys and passages others have gone on. Please check all of them out…so delicious…
Justine Musk says as we get older: “Time to spread your wings — or develop a whole new set.”
Sherold Barr, writes about being in her 60’s: “I consider myself, in my 60s, to be the most authentic version of myself. I feel good in my skin. I have learned that my body is wise, and if I follow its energy and listen to its form of communication – physical sensations – I can trust it more than my ego.”
Jennifer Louden states: “That’s the most salient benefit I know about aging – it teaches you gratitude. Pure animal gratitude. In the steamy-trenches-of-life savoring gratitude. It teaches you to celebrate the beauty of these three words: I’m still here.
I continue to question myself as I am going into my 57th year…years ago I approached writing about how I was feeling when I turned 50, as a dancer and a performer, and have never had so many folks respond by writing back as to those posts in all of my blogging career. They wrote back about how the dance has aided, guided, supported, and inspired them as they were growing older, many into their crone years. And as I travel the world there are more and more older woman taking on Tribal Bellydance, and the journey, to learn the dance and some with the desire to teach others and share their journey. What an evocative thought, and a vision of beauty. To see these older women, take on another aspect of their sanctitude.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” – Eleanor Roosevelt
I look in the mirror and I love who I see, with the wrinkles of life and gray hair (underneath the still somewhat bleached blonde) that I have worked really hard to get. I notice how my body has changed and shifted with age, and I honor that. I find no reason to surgically alter or enhance or remove any part of my body, as our society deems a necessary thing to do. But of course, this body is my temple and I do want and need to take care of it, it takes me through life, it is my work and my obsession, using this body, so I don’t give up on it, even though sometimes it is higher maintenance than it used to be. Got to love that also.
Getting older—It strikes a chord, it makes you pause, it brings time into reality, mortality is real, death in inevitable, our bodies change…how do we acknowledge this change?
I love getting older, I always have…I love my life.
But what I stress to my students, is to honor that entire process of time in their dance also. Their age, their life story. To be careful of the trends, and not be ashamed of their bodies or their age or their newness even in their seasoned ages. There is beauty to be found in every aspect of learning, of studying, of bringing this magnificence into their bodies, their muscle memories, their thought patterns, and their heart and soul. To enjoy taking the time to learn and acknowledge their age in the dance, is a thing of grace and beauty. Patience, ah yes…
My interviewee asked me what I would change, or what my life would look like if I had not danced…first, how would I know? …next, I have never been one for regrets, or what ifs. I carry on. I live every day. And I am still and constantly learning to dance, to live more every minute of every day, which I adore and am grateful for, to get off my treadmill of running through life, reaching for the next thing, or wanting to know what is around the corner…not gonna happen, nor do I want to know, really.
Right now, right here, this instant, I am living.
Thanks for being here, and for living your life! Please leave comments below…