Because Time Must, Because We Must


Portland_Seattle_introToday, I sit on the edge of a lake. The water laps at the rocks below me, filling my ears with a slight rushing sound. There’s a funny pain in my heel. My hips and stomach pulse with slight menstrual cramps. The wind hits me cold.

A week ago, I sat on a hot beach and let the waves pummel me and the sun bake me. It felt good to live in my young skin.

Between then and now, I have interviewed 16 dancers over age 50 in Portland and Seattle. I have held in my eyes and ears the stories of bodies and hearts. Some have been broken while others have been strong. Some shook while others stood steady.

The difference between their bodies and mine amount to a difference in heart beats, number of breaths and deepness of sighs. I will one day join their ranks. They were once me.

The wind off the lake hits me. It chills my bare hands and face first, then my denim-covered legs, and last my sweatered torso. If you stood next to me, the wind would hit you similarly.

Time, on the other hand, hits each of us differently. Time hits some of us full on in the face. Time hits some of us in the gut, doubling us over. And it barely bristles by a few of us, subtly raising the hairs on our arms.

Time hits because it must. We age because we must. But regardless of time or age, those of us who call ourselves dancers continue to dance because we must as well. Therein lies the point.

Please join Stance on Dance over the next three months as we share the interviews and photographs of 16 dancers over age 50 in Portland and Seattle. For more information, please visit the Dancing Over 50 Project.