Published: Wednesday July 2, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday July 2, 2014 MYT 8:55:49 AM

Younger than yesterday

The founder and artistic director of Mirramu Dance Company in Australia has seen a lot in the world of dance, with almost eight decades of experience under her belt.

“I have always danced. My mother took me to dance classes when I was three and I have danced since then,” Dr Elizabeth Cameron Dalman OAM relates.

Known as the founder of modern Australian dance, she recollects a time when modern dance was considered “very avant-garde and little known or appreciated”.

It was during such a time in the 1950s when she first saw José Limón dance in London.

It was a performance that, for Dalman, was a game changer.

“It changed the pathway of my life. I was studying classical ballet in London at that time, but from that moment on I set out on a search to find modern dance teachers,” she says.

What she found the most intriguing about modern dance was that in becoming a proficient practitioner of the form, it required “an intellectual, an emotional and a spiritual journey as well as a physical one”.

She was taken with how modern dance seemed so much more than a showcase of skill and technique – how it has the power to touch people, to communicate with them in ways often elusive to other dance forms.

“They were not just spectacles of dancers performing brilliant technique ... they were that, but a lot more as well, engaging audiences in the choreographers’ concepts.

“Many works had meaning, symbols or stories,” she says.

Dalman adds that even with works that were just pure movement was able to communicate strongly to the audiences as well “...because modern dance choreography is built up from more natural movements than that used in classical ballet or other dance forms.”

Yes, this octogenarian is still dancing; she does not believe there is an age limit to dancing, even in dancing on stage.

“In older age we have different things to express and dance about and so we can keep extending the art form of dance. I keep on dancing because it keeps me alive.”

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, elizabeth dalman, mirror image, mirramu dance company

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