The setting has changed

There is a moment when gravity questions the challenge his spiritual self is making to his physical one. As he twists and turns in the centre of the circle of his friends and acquaintances in the downtown Washington DC day centre he almost looses his balance.  It feels like he is literally jiving on the edge of time. The passion and energy of his twenty-three year old self keeps him upright and dancing. Juliette Drouet wrote to Victor Hugo saying that her love for him would last through time. She said: “The setting has changed and I have put on the disguise of old age”.  As my journey unfolds I become increasingly uncomfortable with language. In every city I visit I am being introduced to group after group of people in disguise; people who have been socially eased into this unfamiliar costume. I’m embarrassed by my own complicity, the continual hover moment as I pause over the keys of my laptop. “What do I tap in here: ‘Elders’? ‘Seniors’? ‘Frail older people’, ‘Older, old person’?”  In London one of our artists, Beryl Manning, smiles: “I’m eighty-two but deep down twenty-eight. I just turn the numbers around.”

Joan Calof, poet and Kairos Dance company member.

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