I am an old dancer. As a dancer in 1982, when I turned 30, there were those who thought that I was old. It was before Baryshnikov, the dancer/actor continued dancing into his 70s; before Dame Margot Fonteyn danced on pointe during her 60th year. She was beautiful and compelling to watch in that year of 1979. So now, at age 67, I am back in dance class.
Maybe it is because I have been told, too often lately, that I am old, implying a loss of competence, or that I am being protected because I am at risk. It would be amusing to see some 21 year olds accomplishing the classic Jane Fonda Workout now demonstrated by the 82 year old actress. And Anthony Hopkins sure is smooth in his Tik Tok performance at 82. It is a different kind of shared world we get from Corona Lockdown, a more personal time and more personal sharing of secrets and demonstrations of competence.
So I ask you, what is competence? Because that is the question: competence. What is all this judging by chronological age? When a 13 year old singer has a beautiful voice and good control of it, we are amazed, not just at the beauty of the voice or the power of the art, but also because of her age. We will again be amazed, not just at the beauty of her voice and the power of her art when she is 70. Perhaps we are just envious. But I think we should see it as a true reflection of reality. One works to gain competence. One continues to practice, as in engaging in the doing and exploration of an art or study, and continues to grow.
While one may not be able to hover as long at the apex of a jump, giving everyone in the audience a kinesthetic sense of weightlessness, like Nureyev, Baryshnikov, or even Air Jordan, there is still artistry and power to be shared. Some performers can take your breath away just by walking across a stage. This is the power of aesthetics coupled with the ability to communicate. For an artist, this is competence. For some actors it is simply the ability to whisper a word, and move a world.
Every one of us have areas of ability and competence. We have at least enough competence to handle life and remain alive in the world. Then there is the joy of mastery and the ability to do. "There is considerable joy in skill, dexterity and moving fast: it can only be done safely with practice.", L. Ron Hubbard. wwwthewaytohappiness.org @waytohappinessstampa