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So, I've been giving this a lot of thought over the last year or so and finally figured maybe I should get some other people's opinions of this phenomenon. It should be no surprise to anyone that America is a heavily "youth obsessed" society. Every where, every day our culture is bombarded with images of young sexy women (and men). Cosmetic surgery has become the norm in America with a staggering number of individuals having non-medically necessary cosmetic surgery in an effort to appear young. Age is no longer considered to be a mark of someone with experience to be valued, but rather something (or someone) you hide and lock away. That said, I am in a troupe with women of varying ages who are lovely and talented. I perform a style that embraces age. But, over the years, I have heard comments about the "older dancers" (as well as the "heavier set" dancers). Most of the time, I have addressed these comments with information in an attempt to educate. But, I must confess it has made me contemplate at what point I want to throw the towel in on performing publicly. At this point, my answer is "I'll quit when I damn well want to."My question for the group is how do you deal with comments made or requests for young dancers? (This could also apply for "skinny" dancers as well.)
Seriously, wenn I get old I want to be like that: 😉http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esxyYUalF4EThat said, I'd think I'd simply ignore comments about the age or size of fellow dancers. After all, neither age nor size say anything about how good a dancer somebody is. But the latter is what matters. 🙂
Yes can say have certainly felt the same the last couple of years, and am lucky to be in a dance troupe with varying ages of ladies, builds etc. Often the focus is on the younger members in photo opportunities etc, and that can be somewhat disheartening sometimes, not that they would encourage that, but its just the way it is. They do great close ups, I do great distance pics....I do great backbends, they cant.....so we all have areas we balance our troupe out in, age is only one area.Im now thinking too at what point do I stop doing this, (Im 57 now) and I suppose it will be really, when I dont enjoy it any longer, not the way I look (or dont look) any longer. This dance has given me such joy, I cant imagine that happening and so expect a good few years left yet!!! 😉
I think you can dance forever, but you have to be realistic about it. At a certain point back bends and belly rolls aren't going to look as enticing on us as they do on a younger performer. I think of it as finally getting to pull rank and take a break.Costume too, needs to be appropriate (new costuming, I'm in!) There's nothing wrong with age or size, as long as you are striving for beauty and grace. It the same for young and skinny, there's nothing wrong with it as long as you are striving for beauty and grace. Just "fitting the mold" of young and/or skinny doesn't make you a good dancer. You still need charisma, regardless.If a producer doesn't want a certain element, move on to one that does. No need to stress about it, just find the right fit.
Thanks for the insights everyone!
HI.I really like your post as I have been dealing with the same issues. And I realize this: I am an inspiration to older women and heavier women. I need those role models and I need to be that role model. I am needed. You are needed. Dance for those who need us. Dance for ourselves. 🙂 -Margaret 🙂
Margaret, yes! I am realizing that as well. Being visible as an older HAPPY dancer is a benefit to all.
Margaret, that's me, too; I quit dyeing my hair years ago, and it's gray, white and beige. Nobody knows quite what to make of that, but I think of it as just another color. It's true that my body won't do some of the amazing drops and squats that are currently in vogue, but I do what I do with great conviction and no nervousness any more…something my younger dancers often have some trouble managing.
I've just watched a TV programme here in the UK on 'Fabulous Fashionistas' about 6 different women with an average age of 80!! All are refusing to get old gracefully, and wear the trendiest of clothes complete with Doc Martens, leggings, leotards, colourful outrageous clothes (wonderful)! One has returned to work in a trendy boutique and looks like Mary Quant with her sharp haircut (she runs 3 times a week at the age of 75), one is an ex ballet dancer and still continues to work in theatre on productions such as Cats etc, still choreographs at the ripe age of 87 and exercises every morning for 40 mins with 2 new hips (and who say's she's had a racy life) tee-hee… , one is a gardener and another is 85 and a top model.It's not just about their clothes and looks, but all have the same steely determination to not let age creep into their lives. They're all happy, young at heart and simply look amazing. Fantastic!!Gosh, at 54 I'm still a spring chicken!!!
I'm curious what Carolena meant by “New costuming, I'm in”??? Just wondering 😉
As an older dancer I do notice the arrogance of younger people, and it's not confined to dancing of course. We become 'invisible' even if we are more capable and they just can't figure it out. I take the responsibility to keep myself as fit as possible and to keep achieving new goals, I'm nearly 62. I can perfectly understand the paying customer for requesting young dancers, who wouldn't? We are all aesthetically driven whether we admit it or not. Then there is the speed at which we can think as we get older and younger people just love to have a laugh at our loss, or slower speed of thinking. Getting old is not nice, darned inconvenient really, I feel I have so much more yet to do. I am concentrating on being a good teacher, trouble is, there seems to be a definite lack of people who want to work hard and just want to dress up.
Luna-Lori, I'm pretty sure Carolena meant “Yippee, an excuse to buy more new costume pieces!”
As an older dancer I have really been involved in this issue and am so glad to see others talking about it. I too feel like I am a role model for younger women letting them see how to be and proud and beautiful at any age or size. However, I am preparing my troupe for out first competition. Most of us are in our 60's and have individual physical vulnerabilities that need to be respected. Some of my dancer's have shoulder issues, arthritis in the hands and wrists, knees that can't bend, and forget about our memory, this is laughable! I realize that because of this, our technique has some flaws (even though we a quite good at what we do), but those dancers we will be competing with are generally 20-30 years younger then us with a great deal more flexibity and range of motion. We are stimulated by the challenge of the competition and are looking forward to being given the chance to be critiqued by master dancers. I am just not sure what to expect if the critique includes comments that are beyond my dancer's physical limitations because of the natural course of aging. Just food for thought.
Hi all from one of the aging performers (past 57) 🙂I explain to students (I have all ages, sizes, but most are younger than my youngest child) that dancing ATS gives me a vision of a group of village women in a land far away where hearing music makes them get up and dance. No one gave them lessons, they learned from watching their Mothers, Aunts, sisters, and even Grandmothers. Because they all grow up learning from one another and dancing together, they can anticipate moves and follow who ever may be leading. Didn't Carolena write that somewhere??In my imaginary village setting (where BTW elders are respected), a young niece or granddaughter wouldn't tell their elder to sit down cause she's too old. The elder will decide when she sits down.ON THE OTHER HAND: others have mentioned our youth oriented society, and I certainly don't want to look ridiculous at any point. I guess when I'm not happy with myself in costume, or my body starts betraying me, I'll sit down.
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