In the past few weeks I have been dancing in Holyrood park with Prime, Scotland’s semi-professional dance company for people over 60years of age.  I have been a member of Prime since it’s beginning in 2016.

After my accident and through the lockdown year, I have been lucky to be able to keep dancing with Prime, taking part in the weekly zoom classes that have been so generously given to us by Dance Base and our anonymous benefactor and the teachers who have taken to zoom with such ease and care.   I was part of the beautiful film made by Lorna Simpson with Christine Devaney, Luke Sutherland and Curious Seed,  It is called  ” Capturing Soft”  (   Soon there is to be a booklet published with some of our writing that was part of the process of making the piece and  used by Luke Sutherland to create the soundscape.

That was inside,  well mostly!  Now the prospect of meeting everyone in person again and with so much space to move in became quite scary for me.  How I move now would be visible to everyone!  And should I be there at all!  Hobbling around, unable to move fast, run, jump or turn!     An the surgeon said ”  And what do you need internal rotation for?”  when I pointed out I had little or none now and asked if it would return?  Hip flexion too is a major problem when dancing especially doing movements given or asked by others.  It is easy to hide inside zoom and big travelling movements are not possible in one’s living space!   I don’t know about others but I think that for most people, fitness too will be less after a year spent moving in such little spaces!

On a positive side, I have improved enormously over the weeks of doing zoom classes and continue to improve, although the possibilities are much less with knee arthritis now more of a problem.  I would never have imagined I could move around such a huge space at all, let alone keep up with a game of pass the imaginary ball that we did yesterday!   We have been dancing in the park making the piece since the end of June and my fitness and ability has improved!  Still amazes me sometimes and I am grateful for what I can do and for  what I have  had the knowledge, patience and commitment to do for myself during lockdown without physiotherapy help.

However, I have to face the fact that I cannot keep up with anything fast and after several hours on my feet, I really struggle with pain and stiffness.   This can take several days to ease.  Some of the enjoyment of dancing is overshadowed by this and the  worry of not being able to keep up.   The weather can play a big part in this too.

Having arthritis, one is not considered disabled and yet one is not totally able either!  Movements become stuck and cannot flow with the grace and ease that is expected of a ‘ Dancer’.  And yet many of us still want to create movement art, be expressive and find our own dance!

I will get there with the help of,  rest days, stretching, sea bathing Epsom salt baths, Voltarol, aromatherapy, knee supports and an increasing ability to accept, love and care for myself-  more on that later!

I chose to continue with the outdoor project!

”  Field – Something for the future now”  is a wonderfully joyful work performed in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh,  against the majestic backdrop of Arthur’s Seat and the Crags    It is  conceived, choreographed and directed in a physically distanced world, by Christine Devaney and produced by Curious Seed.   It has a large cast of professional dancers, Prime dancers and the Lyra children’s group.    Live Music accompanies the four hour long spectacle.  It has been widely acclaimed as an Edinburgh Festival must see!

Come and see it if you can!

Sundays 22nd and 29th August at 1pm and 4pm respectively!   ( for the future now)