As we approach the 20th anniversary of Older & Reckless, we shine a light on the senior artists who we are honoured to include in our celebrations, including the remarkable JULIA APLIN
Julia Aplin, Photo by Taras Kovaliv
JULIA APLIN muses on “What’s it like to be an “OLDER” dancer?” “What’s it like to be an “OLDER” dancer?"
My first response is shock. Do they mean me? ME? An “older” dancer?And then pride. Oh, yes, ME! I am an OLDER dancer and I'm thrilled to be included in the “OLDER” category.
The questioner then senses I am happy about it and seems puzzled. The questioner goes on to ask something like - “Well, how does it feel to lose your movement ability?”
I want to bare my teeth and growl at the person because I certainly do not feel I have lost anything. There is an irritating idea about older dancers that we are sad we can’t do the splits anymore, that we despair that we can’t jump like we did or that we miss rolling up and down from the ground. I remember bouncing up and down all day long and that was fun. And while I know that’s not who I am anymore, I hate that they are a little bit right about that. FYI I can still do the splits.
It is the assumption of loss and decay that frustrates me. I think that getting older is getting better. My body is still strong and I am capable of more mindfulness, articulation, focus and range of expression than I ever had as a young dancer. So what if I need reading glasses? I know more about what it is important and what is just a waste of energy.
I know how to avoid an injury, how to take care of my body, how to align myself, how to respect and love myself. Over the years I have learned so much about how to move that I actually feel even better than I did in my 20’s.
Here’s my point - We are like trees. We keep growing. I believe if we can stay open and alive to the world, we become ever more expansive and capable.
And maybe 50 years from now, you and I will meet on the dance floor and will be proud to call ourselves EVEN-OLDER dancers.
Julia Aplin is currently leading Zoom classes through MOonhORsE’s Engaging Seniors in Dance program.
On May 30th, 2020, she performed GROVE with senior dancer Terrill Maguire and musician John Gzowski as part of NAC CanadaPerforms. Julia has been studying and practicing movement for over 40 years and has danced in several editions of Older & Reckless. For more on Julia visit http://upwardspiral.me/