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88 and 44

Covent Garden   

It is never too late to learn something new!

But just how late can one wait. You would think that at age 88 there would be some kind of cut-off point, depending of course on what it is being learnt? Not so, with one gentlemen mentioned in the Independent newspaper  (January 12th, 08). John Lowe, a former teacher from Witchford, Cambridgeshire, was about to appear in his first ballet production as a Woodcarver in Prokofiev’s The Stone Flower. Mr Lowe started his ballet career just nine years earlier, having seen his own daughter become a professional dancer.

The Independent reported his comments as:

” I practice every day and I’ve got a rope that I use to pull my leg up higher. I’m lucky that I don’t have any problems with the routines but that’s because I exercise.”

He also went on to add:

” I was fascinated by it (ballet). Dancing, painting, sculpture is all the same thing really. It’s an awareness of colour and shape.”

Having loved ballet all my life -though for all sorts of reasons never went to lessons, this article caught my attention. At the age of nine, having being introduced to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker as well as finding an old biography on a summer fete stall, about the life of Anna Pavlova -my dancing legend, I wanted to become a professional dancer. My life has since taken a different course but the passion for art, music, singing and dance lives on.

Only last year, I went to London and spend a very memorable time at Covent Garden on a back stage tour. The atmosphere is like visiting a different world: of magic, sumptuous splendor and art in a very vivid and vivacious style; combined with a serious and rigid structure of discipline and dedication. If you have ever seen the Auditorium at Covent Garden it is truly a wonderful site. I sat and listened to the guide, staring at the stage. The gold balconies and red velvet curtains and thought what a privilege to be here. 

 Ballet is not for the faint-hearted. Mr Lowe went on to describe how ballet should not be seen as effeminate. This art requires great fitness and agility. He believes it is a wonderful thing to do and do not understand why more men do not do it.

You know the moment you see/do something that causes you to freeze in time and an excited tingle fills you. That feeling stays with you forever. You want to savour it, hold it and frame it in your memory.

I hope for for Mr Lowe who would have stood on the stage at The Maltings in Ely, with the Latern Dance Theatre the day after this report was written, he would have felt just like that. I admire him for his courage, his passion to live life to the full and realise an ambition and a dream. I am half his age, so it just goes to show that new gifts and projects can be realised, even if you do need the odd bit of help from a rope to pull your leg up higher. How ingenious!

This article encourages me more in my efforts to learn to swim. This morning the Ipod Nano is blasting in my ears. I like all sorts of music, including Take That’s song “Shine”. The vocals say:

“What are you waiting for, Your time is coming, don’t be late.” 

Don’t wait if you want to do something. Give it a go no matter what the obstacles may seem. You can put enough of your own barriers up, without waiting for people to come along and do it for you. And without wanting to sound corny with using a pun out of context.

As Jamie Oliver would say:

“Go on , try something new today.”

He might have meant food: but hey, we all need food for the soul.

(If I can find a review as to how this gentlemen’s performance went, I will let you know with an edit here.)

soon found it. Take a look.



Committed to the education of children and the health and human rights of women and mankind. I also enjoy taking photographs and sometimes I write poetry.

One thought on “88 and 44

  1. I agree with your sentiments entirely. We should all be trying new things and make each day count. I am not sure that I could cope with ballet, and my brain is struggling with new Italian vocabulary, but the key thing is that we can try things that WE want to and decide what works for us and brings us pleasure and meaning.

    Our humanity means that we are such resourceful creatures and could theoretically always be changing and creating new things. Fortunately we are living in an age when, despite the dangers, it is more easier than before to be creative – more health, resources, leisure. Like you, I want to exploit those resources and the time left.

    As someone once said: “Ruts are just coffins with the ends kicked out!”

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