Footprints in the Sand


In a 14-day whirlwind filled with little sleep and lots of caffeine, I travelled with photographer Gregory Bartning from Los Angeles up the coast to Seattle, interviewing 25 dancers and hosting five public events to finish and promote our Dancing Over 50 Project, a series of interviews and photographs with over 50 dancers over age 50 along the West Coast. This project has been in the works for over two years, and by next summer we hope to turn this puppy into a signed, sealed and delivered book!

The previously finished interviews are available in full here, but I want to share a sneak peek of some words of wisdom collected on our recent journey. Over the past two weeks, I have been sharing a favorite quote and photo from each of the newest interviewees. In other words, read on!

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Nancy Davis and Jim Lane

On opening their school together:

Nancy: “We just love the ballet art form. For us to still get to work together is huge. After Los Angeles Ballet we tried different jobs, but to still be in this together is pretty special. My life is full. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Jim: “We’re doing it for the right reasons. Neither one of us ever got into this for the money.”

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Jamie McHugh

On legacy:

“It’s a burden and a calling. Our work is how we leave our footprints in the sand. I feel called to do things that push me out of my comfortable rural life. But then once I see people’s responses to the form, I ask myself, ‘How could I not?’ The question is how to balance maintaining the quiet life I have with how I’m called to be socially and politically involved.”

Jamie McHugh cropped square

Jayanthi Raman

On continuing:

“I will not stop dancing because I’m old; I’ll become old when I stop dancing.”

*Jayanthi is our youngest participant, just shy of 50.

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Kathryn Roszak

On success:

“I feel successful in that I have done as much as I possibly could do with the cards I’ve been dealt. I feel like I’m operating in a limited world, but I don’t feel limited.”

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Tara Stepenberg

On motivation:

“Dance is my wisdom practice. It’s similar to a meditation. It’s necessary in how I experience myself.”

Tara Stepenberg cropped square

Deborah Wolf

On success:

“I didn’t even question if I was going to be successful. I was very optimistic and naïve, but I had a lot of desire and willpower. I like to do things I’m afraid of. I’ve put myself in those places where each experience is a challenge.”

Deborah Wolf cropped square

Pre-purchase your own copy of “Beauty is Experience: Dancing 50 and Beyond.” Expected delivery late 2016.

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