I was forty when Turned On Its Head opening Shiny, which I both co-directed and danced in. Today I am forty-three. And what an incredible whirlwind the last three years have been. My co-director and fellow performer Oksana and I have done over 120 shows, all over the UK. Oksana probably wouldn’t be too chuffed if I mentioned her age, but just for the record – she’s older than me..
Shiny was my first professional touring show as a dancer. Some might say I’d left it a little late. “Wouldn’t have been better if you’d done this in your twenties” someone once said. Mmmm maybe… The 100 year old dancer and choregrapher Eileen Kramer said “there’s no more leaping up in the air for me!” and for me it’s probably more like ‘sometimes I might leap in the air but only on an empty bladder’, which I can definitely live with. Eileen also advises that as a dancer and maker of dance you don’t become ‘swamped by reality’. Shiny was an amazing world to escape into, a mix of well loved choreography and improvisation that keeps both Oksana and I in love with it and probably performing it with zimmer frames in tow.
I don’t believe in a ‘best before’ date. I simply believe that a moving body tells a story, which differs hour to hour, day to day, decade to decade. If Oksana and I believe that young children change the performance space (which we do absolutely believe and cherish) then we have to believe that ageing bodies also have an impact, Oksana and mine included. My body isn’t ready to stop telling stories, it needs a few more nurofen to kick start it. Quite a few years ago I was fortunate enough to dance with 85 year old Ursula from Cecilia MacFarlanes community dance group DugOut. I loved the honesty of her moving and even more I love it that, when asked “why do you keep dancing” she relied “because I’m not dead yet”.