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I wasn’t sure where to post this so have started a new thread.  This clip moved me so much.  This lady was a ballerina with NYC Ballet back in the 60s.  Here, she is almost at end stage Alzheimer’s, but upon hearing the music from Swan Lake she can remember the choreography, and still has lovely hand and arm movements.  This cruellest of diseases has taken almost everything from her, but it couldn’t take away the love for her art that was deep in her heart and her soul.  She has now passed away, but how lovely to see this happy moment that she treasured so much.  ❤️
 

From the Facebook page:

 

The late Marta Gonzales was a prima ballerina at the NY Ballet in the 60s. 

Suffering from Alzheimer’s, she is seen here in 2019 listening to Swan Lake.

The magical sounds made her remember her life on stage.

It was filmed by the Music to Wake project, which offers Alzheimer’s patients a brief window to the world they left behind, through the unbelievable power of music.

 

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I wish I could like this a thousand times.  Thank you, Sim.  Such a glorious post.  So filled with the joy of life.  May this be a constructive signal towards a renewed climate of future positivity here and far beyond.  There is no question but that the quest for hope is tantamount.  Long may it be celebrated and encouraged.  

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Many thanks Sim. I too was unsure where to include this astonishing post. I found it tremendously uplifting so opted for the ‘’In difficult times when we need ... our spirits uplifting.’ But the post is so touching that I’m sure it deserves a separate thread. No doubt we all have relatives or friends struggling with Alzheimer’s and loss of memory and this post helps show the person shrouded by such problems. Simply wonderful seeing her responding to the music and remembering and re-enacting her past performances.

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On 10/11/2020 at 07:04, Bruce Wall said:

I wish I could like this a thousand times.  Thank you, Sim.  Such a glorious post.  So filled with the joy of life.  May this be a constructive signal towards a renewed climate of future positivity here and far beyond.  There is no question but that the quest for hope is tantamount.  Long may it be celebrated and encouraged.  

 

Such beauty in old age is so moving. Sim reports that she was a principal with the New York City Ballet in the 60s but I have not been able to discover anything else about her, in particular any recording of her dancing. I wonder Bruce if you are aware of any record of her performing - maybe in the NYCB archives? 

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Alastair Macaulay (late ballet/dance critic of the New York Times) did quite a bit on Twitter on this yesterday, and he does not accept that she danced with NYCB.  This link should give the first of a thread:

 

 

 

 

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40 minutes ago, David said:

 

Such beauty in old age is so moving. Sim reports that she was a principal with the New York City Ballet in the 60s but I have not been able to discover anything else about her, in particular any recording of her dancing. I wonder Bruce if you are aware of any record of her performing - maybe in the NYCB archives? 

 

David, you may be interested in the paragraph in an NPR (National Public Radio) article:

 

Alastair Macaulay, a prominent dance critic formerly with The New York Times, has been chasing González's history and posting his findings to Instagram. On Tuesday, Macaulay posted that he has located a mysterious 1966 document, bearing what appears to be a Cuban governmental stamp, from a non-existent organization called "The Higher School for Professional Studies, Nueva York," saying that "Marta C. González Saldaña" could be called a "prima ballerina" in the "Ballet de las Américas" — but there is no such company in New York or anywhere else in the U.S.

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If Macaulay is that concerned about it perhaps he should contact the charity.  He was also making a big deal about the ballet clip interspersed with the piece being The Dying Swan and not Swan Lake.

 

Re. all of the above, I don't really care in this instance.  Maybe she was a ballerina in NY, maybe she wasn't.  Does it matter that much?  I really don't care.  I posted this up because of the beauty the story tells...and this lady represents many other people who react and respond to music when nothing else can reach them.  

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31 minutes ago, Sim said:

If Macaulay is that concerned about it perhaps he should contact the charity.  He was also making a big deal about the ballet clip interspersed with the piece was The Dying Swan and not Swan Lake.

 

Re. all of the above, I don't really care in this instance.  Maybe she was a ballerina in NY, maybe she wasn't.  Does it matter that much?  I really don't care.  I posted this up because of the beauty the story tells...and this lady represents many other people who react and respond to music when nothing else can reach them.  

 

Exactly. She clearly has some sort of ballet background that is coming to the fore again here, and it's beautiful and moving. That's all that matters.

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Thank you Bruce. Nothing can detract from the beauy of the clip of course but dance is so ephemeral - we and future posterity are so fortunate now that dancers and their performances can be recorded. The clip has gone so viral around the world - possibly more will emerge about this woman who has moved us all so much.

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43 minutes ago, Sim said:

If Macaulay is that concerned about it perhaps he should contact the charity.  He was also making a big deal about the ballet clip interspersed with the piece was The Dying Swan and not Swan Lake.

 

Re. all of the above, I don't really care in this instance.  Maybe she was a ballerina in NY, maybe she wasn't.  Does it matter that much?  I really don't care.  I posted this up because of the beauty the story tells...and this lady represents many other people who react and respond to music when nothing else can reach them.  

 

I totally agree, Sim.  The clip was the beauty of dance incarnate; incarnadine in this glorious woman's mind.  It was inspirational.  I merely quoted the item because David had referenced me in terms of the specific question.  

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35 minutes ago, alison said:

I thought the original said the New York Ballet anyway - I assumed it was a different company.

It did.  I assumed they had made a mistake as they clearly aren’t familiar with things ballet!

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Oh dear, I feel I should apologise. I seem to have raised hackles. It was a simple query, a wish to know more about the woman who has moved us all so profoundly. Surely it is not inapproriate, particularly on  this day of all days that we should think about the forgotten person behind the story.   

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6 minutes ago, David said:

Oh dear, I feel I should apologise. I seem to have raised hackles. It was a simple query, a wish to know more about the woman who has moved us all so profoundly. Surely it is not inapproriate, particularly on  this day of all days that we should think about the forgotten person behind the story.   

 

No apology at all needed as far as I'm concerned, David! It would indeed be interesting to know more about her. I just felt that in his tweets Mr Macaulay sounded rather nit-picking, instead of simply appreciating the beauty of what we've seen.

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2 minutes ago, bridiem said:

 

No apology at all needed as far as I'm concerned, David! It would indeed be interesting to know more about her. I just felt that in his tweets Mr Macaulay sounded rather nit-picking, instead of simply appreciating the beauty of what we've seen.

Exactly.   It’s Macaulay who raised my hackles David, certainly not you!  😀

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2 hours ago, alison said:

I thought the original said the New York Ballet anyway - I assumed it was a different company.

 Exactly. I briefly “did the math” on years and began going through my sources on ‘60s NY ballet then thought, “Heck, does it matter?” It could’ve been any of MANY dance companies in the NY area at the time. She could’ve gone by a stage name. Maybe she danced as corps and family members just remembered that she was a “ballerina”? It doesn’t change the beauty of the story, does it? Oh, jeez. The lady has since passed away. Enough of Macaulay’s investigations!

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Thanks Cherilyn, what a fascinating story.

 

I suppose, with all the smoke and mirrors she seemed to have created during her lifetime, Marta Cinta Gonzalez will remain an enigma.

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14 hours ago, Jan McNulty said:

Thanks Cherilyn, what a fascinating story.

You're welcome, @Jan McNulty! The moment I finished reading it in El Español I thought, "This journalist's investigations must be shared with an even broader audience!" and feverishly went to work. I found particular interest considering Marta's birth and life in Madrid since that is where I reside. In fact, I've been communicating with Mr. Susanna (the Spanish journalist) and he just told me this morning that it has been confirmed that at the address Calle de Alonso XII, 66 there was in fact a dance studio! I now have this strange urge to go visit it despite never having known its occupants; perhaps having the trained eye of a ballet dancer and teacher, I can spot some fun "evidence"!

 

I agree with so many of the comments in this thread; although there definitely is some misleading information in the original video, the essence of it is what truly matters. And I love that our interest in Marta has been peaked for the simple fact that she clearly has deep balletic roots - regardless of what they are. Once a dancer, always a dancer :)

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I agree that this clip is extremely moving, but I was not surprised by it.   I think many people haven't understood that her "dancing" is not actually her poor vanished mind miraculously working again, but dancers will instantly kmow that it's her muscle memory responding to the music.   It often happens to me that I forget a dance that I haven't taught for some years, but as soon as I hear the music my body remembers it correctly.  I think musicians have the same thing - I recently saw a film of a 94 year old pianist with Altsheimers playing Beethoven from "memory".

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On 15/11/2020 at 18:19, The Traveling Ballerina said:

I read an article earlier today that El Español published about this and felt that it needs to be told in English; the result is this feature “Ballerina with Alzheimer’s: The Untold Story of Marta Cinta”. Here is my translation into English, if any of you are interested :)

Thanks so much for this, Cherilyn, and for taking the time to translate this fascinating story.  I am so glad I could read it. 

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