In six months I’ll be 80.
I’m dependent for my health and strength on Pilates, as taught in the Anthony Rabara studio, and I’m learning new strengthening moves at Princeton Fitness and Wellness, but nothing beats actual DANCE.
Dancing (modern dance) used to be my life. I danced a lot, in college. Some, in my 30s. Less, in my 50s. (The image* is of my 50th birthday party, led by my then dance teacher,Esther Arnhold Seligmann. Even less in my ’60s, though with Alma Concepcion I did try to learn flamenco, until I realized what it was doing to my knees.
Absolutely no dance in my 70s.
Now, on the cusp of 80, I have rediscovered the joy of moving through space.
You don’t get it in Pilates, you don’t get to move through space in a gym, you can move through space only in a dance studio, and dance studios are notoriously unfriendly to old bones.
So I am beyond thrilled to find a dance class geared for seniors, one that satisfies my desire (yea, my need) to move through space but honors my arthritis. Mary Pat Robertson,who had extensive experience in Merce Cunningham technique as well as being a master teacher of ballet, has begun a class for mature dancers of 50 plus years (that’s me), ranging from beginners to former professionals (I’m in between), to”retain flexibility, balance, and core strength.”
It’s at the new Martin Center for Dance, established by Douglas Martin and Mary Barton upon their untimely exit from American Repertory Ballet. (This article in U.S. 1 explains some of the details and here is an earlier Town Topics article by Anne Levin).
I had studied Humphrey/Weidman technique and ‘experienced’ Graham technique, and I’m finding that Cunningham technique is kinder to old bones. Robertson merges what she learned at the Cunningham studio with what she experienced at a special “over 50” class in London.
It’s good for me. It’s fun. It has me moving (safely) through space.
Intrigued? Come and see! Robertson teaches the “over 50” class on Mondays and Thursdays, 11 AM to 12:30 p.m. at the Martin Center for Dance, 11 Princess Road, Suite 5. What used to be a warehouse is now a stylish space for two dance studios and a black box theater.
*Recognizable faces in the 50th birthday picture: top row, Mary Hultse, Sandy Goettinger, Barbara Palfy, ?, Ann Yasuhara, ?, Pat Hatton, Joan Crespi. First row, Esther Seligmann, ?, ?, Barbara Figge Fox, Anna Rosa Kohn, Brenda Fallon, Nicole Plett. (Additional IDs welcome. With little provocation I will show you the video. It reflects Esther’s amazingly free spirit.)