Dancers tell me the cut off age for professionals is 30-35. I believe we are built for motion until our last breathe. If you are younger, you should not feel you ever have to stop and if you are older, you should never have to feel you can’t start. I started in my 40s.
Here is a video clip of how I dance today from a class at Flying Steps Academy in Berlin, with my teacher named Hakim Mo . (I share it for educational purposes)
Before dance, I led a modified rock-n-roll lifestyle where I would be out late hours to attend jam sessions, have a beer (or a few too many), smoke an occasional cigarette (although I quit 15 years ago), and take an occasional drag off someones joint depending on how low my self-discipline was or reason to stay awake. But then I got ill (another story; another day) walked past a bar where I saw a well-dressed alcoholic friend puke all over a bar stool and, undeterred, start reapplying make up and I just knew I was so over that scene.
DANCE. In the flow I am timeless. I am weightless. I am part of something larger. I tap into the “source”. We all have a flow; it calls our name. And we become wind.
For me, dance is the most effective way to relieve stress and find your “joy spot”- that place where you forget time and are in the flow. It asks you to use your most fundamental instrument (your body) while exploring the actress, musician, fitness freak and story-teller in you. That’s why I love it so much; it challenges every skill set I have. The elements of vocal expression and movement are inherent skills, our prehistoric instincts revived. It feels good to get back to these roots. There’s a lot of anxiety in the world. You can either putter along at a low frequency being battered by events or raise yourself to a higher frequency (and happier you) by building resistance to that stress.
It takes time to develop craft. To make your words, movements, ideas, voice “count” for something. So why do we penalize that? I devoted my adult life pursuing music only to feel I had become invisible and irrelevant once I became really good. The wrinkles of time should make you more interesting since you have a larger emotional spectrum to emote and share. The losses and joys in life are your palette to paint with. Younger artists have the shape but not the substance. Substance has to be earned. So why do we not celebrate this authenticity and welcome older artists- especially women? And why aren’t more older artists exploring the shapes and references of younger artists? It’s so refreshing. I love hearing music my younger friends and teachers are listening to and getting a pulse on their reality and outlook.
Arts should be cross-generational whether in music, theater, film, fashion, dance. By limiting mainstream creative expression to a youth-driven base, the margins of performance arts become dangerously narrow. It’s demeaning to those who have walked before and can contribute and insulting to younger generations by not offering them the same standards to compare to before they inherited a smaller world. If we mix things up together, the margins will stretch and truly start to reflect the human experience. Isn’t the human experience what the arts should be about?