She might be 102 years old but Australian dancer, choreographer and costume designer Eileen Kramer is putting on a show for her 103rd birthday.
The Canberra resident has been dancing for the last 75 years and shows no sign of slowing down.
‘I feel as if I really have flowered in this time of my life, dancing when you’re in your early 20s is a great excitement but now I feel more capable creating dances,’ she told FEMAIL.
‘I’ve learnt quite a lot, I’ve travelled a lot and I’ve danced a lot.’
Eileen Kramer, 102, (pictured) has been dancing for the last 75 years and shows no sign of slowing down
Eileen created A Buddha’s Wife, a dance drama inspired by her travels in India, which she will be performing in November with ten other dancers.
The story follows a woman who is dealing with the grief of being left by her husband and explores themes of abandonment and finding peace.
‘[It will be] Central European Expressionism, that was the style of the first modern dance, it was called expressive dance and I still work in that style.
‘I love this style because it gives you freedom, it’s a very beautiful style, it’s not too classical.’
Eileen (at back) performed with the Bodenwieser Ballet school for years, which was Australia’s first modern dance company
Eileen Kramer will be performing again this November with ten other dancers
The deeply personal dance work is co-produced by choreographer, dancer and film-maker Sue Healy and will also be used to celebrate Eileen’s life and career.
Travel has always been a large part of Eileen’s existence and after she journeyed through India in the 1960s she moved through Pakistan, Africa and Europe before settling in America.
She settled in the United States in the early 80s and became a member of Trillium Performing Arts in Lewisberg before deciding to come back to Australia when she was 99.
‘Australia didn’t have all the different companies it has now, it’s quite exciting to come back and see the dance world flourishing,’ she said.
Eileen starred in a music video for Lacey Cole’s debut album Other Ways To Say The Same when she was 100 and it is this style of dancing she will be performing
Eileen is looking forward to the performance which she has put her heart and soul into and she has also designed her own costumes as well as the choreography
‘I was working with a company in America and suddenly I thought, I want to hear a kookaburra and smell some gum trees,’ Eileen continued.
At almost 103 years of age, she is quite possibly the longest-working dancer and choreographer in Australia.
Eileen has had a passion for dance since she was 24 and it is something she has never given up.
Travel has always been a large part of Eileen’s existence and after she journeyed through India in the 1960s she settled in America
‘Australia didn’t have all the different companies it has now, it’s quite exciting to come back and see the dance world flourishing’
‘My favourite part is that you’re making order of life, you choose a subject, you choreograph it and make order of it whereas in life it may be complicated or upsetting so you go on stage and make order of it,’ she explained.
Eileen said that she doesn’t get nervous before she approaches the stage as dancing is simply second nature to her.
‘I’ve done it all my life, I start at the beginning and go onto the end, it’s like the way people write a book.
‘I don’t get nervous but I don’t stand and talk to people, I remain really quiet before I go on stage.’
Eileen has worked closely with the Arts Health Institute to breath life to her work and is pictured with the ambassador Dr Maggie Haertsch
She is thankful that so many people are coming together to help her put this performance together.
‘There is a great feeling of love when you go on stage,’ Eileen said
‘I feel a little humble about it, I’m very pleased too. It’s very gratifying to know that people appreciate what you do.
‘There is a great feeling of love when you go on stage, you are giving all of your love to the audience.’
When asked what the highlight of her career has been it is difficult for her to pinpoint one occasion.
But one of her favorite aspect of dance is that she is able to leave an impression on people, making herself happy in the process.
‘Two weeks ago I danced for a group of Japanese people and it was such a nice experience seeing the smiles on their faces, those moments are priceless.’
The life that Eileen (left) is living isn’t something she ever expected or planned when she was younger
The life that Eileen is living isn’t something she ever expected or planned when she was younger.
‘I had no idea, when you’re creating something you don’t look ahead too much, you think about how you’re getting things done in the present.
‘I don’t like hobbies very much, I’m professional, my work is not a hobby but some people don’t want to make a career out of dancing.
‘But it is still good for your health, your psychological state and it connects you with other people.
‘I would tell others to go to it, practice and also read a lot, and look at paintings and learn about history, it all helps in the act of creation.’
Eileen said that she doesn’t get nervous before she approaches the stage as dancing is simply second nature to her
One of Eileen’s (left) favorite aspect of dance is that she is able to leave an impression on people, making herself happy in the process
Recently Eileen watched back a video of one of her performances and she couldn’t help but think how lucky she is to be given the opportunity to perform.
‘It always seems youre not prepared enough but we’ll be having intense rehearsals from now on and have every move planned out.’
Unfortunately to put on such a performance Eileen and the Arts Health Institute need to raise funds which they are doing through a crowdfunding website.
‘The last piece I did here, the public raised $30,000 for us and we hope to do that again.
‘People don’t realise that we have to pay for costumes, artists, use only professional dances and pay for the theatre, it’s amazing how quickly the money runs out.’
‘I want to thank those people that have donated in the past because without them it wouldn’t have been possible’
Eileen is looking forward to the performance which she has put her heart and soul into and she has also designed her own costumes as well as the choreography.
‘But we wont be able to do it without the money, we hope the public will be able to help us.
‘I want to thank those people that have donated in the past because without them it wouldn’t have been possible.’