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The Magic of Eileen Kramer


The Power of Dance
"Everything happens at 100, everything changes," Eileen Kramer told
the Sydney Morning Herald. The enchanting dancer and choreographer
has been receiving more attention than usual since she's entered triple
digits, an age she describes as "magical." However, more impressive
than the fact that she dances at all is how she dances: with soft and
sinuous gestures that move like billowing folds of fabric.

Kramer was born in 1914 in a suburb of Sydney, Australia, called


Mosman Bay. She grew up interested in music and hoped to be an opera
singer, until a performance by Vienna's Bodenwieser modern dance
company captured her heart. It wasn't long before Kramer was dancing
under Madame Gertrud Bodenwieser, as part of the first modern dance
http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/dance/one-
hundredyearold-dancer-eileen-kramer-still-taking-to-
company in Australia. At 22 years old, Kramer considered herself a late
the-stage-20150305-13ve5f.html
bloomer when she immersed herself in the world of dance. Now, she's
very likely one of the oldest choreographers in the world. "I'm not a
highly acrobatic dancer. I'm a soft dancer," said Eileen, who starts each day with strengthening and
classical barre exercises, a cappuccino and a croissant.

Kramer spent her life in various locations including New York, India, Paris, London and West
Virginia. In 2014, at 99, she returned to Sydney, Australia. "I wanted to hear a kookaburra. I wanted
to smell a gum tree," she told ABC News.

In February, Kramer was invited to be an artist in residence at Bundanon Trust, Australia, in their Arts-
in-Residence program. She's spent her time there choreographing "The Early Ones," a modern dance
piece made in collaboration with rehearsal director Julia Cotton and composer Nicholas Lyon. Despite
being blind in one eye, Kramer created all the sets for the performance and designed all the costumes.

"She's such a beautiful creative spirit and also a really physical body still at 100 years old," said dancer
Anya McKee, "so that idea that you need to stop dancing in your 30s -- like I am -- or your 40s, and
you have to get everything done before then, is just gone."

"Dancing; it psychologically strengthens me," said Eileen. "I like looking at myself in the mirror. I
like people to tell me that what I did was beautiful."

For very obvious reasons, Kramer is officially our new heroine, both for her creative devotion and
hypnotic talent, not to mention the fact that she's putting stereotypes about aging to serious shame. To
live a long and happy life a la Eileen, try following her simple advice: "Try to do creative work, because
if you're dealing with creative work you're doing something new all the time."

References:
http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/dance/one-hundredyearold-dancer-eileen-kramer-still-taking-to-the-stage-
20150305-13ve5f.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/05/eileen-kramer-100-year-old-dancer_n_6802534.html

02 Handout 3 *Property of STI


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