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Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Eileen Kramer: Viral Video - 'The Early Ones' #InspiringEileen

Eileen Kramer, what a treasure. And now… she's gone viral!


Photo: Simon Cunich
I have had the privilege of working with Eileen on her 'Inspiring Eileen' campaign, currently underway, in line with her new production 'The Early Ones'.

Eileen has had a 75-year career as writer, dancer, painter, costume designer and choreographer - she is 100, and not slowing down anytime soon. In fact, the Australian-born Eileen is about to stage her first production in Australia, after living in the USA for the last 40 years. Eileen says she came back to Australia at the age of 99 because she "missed the kookaburras". As a centenarian, Eileen is most likely the longest living working choreographer and dancer in Australia, if not the world.

And now, she is staging 'The Early Ones' on Friday March 13 (at 8pm), and Saturday March 14 (2pm and 8pm), at The Independent Theatre, 269 Miller Street, North Sydney.

Eileen’s extraordinary lifelong love affair with dance is evident with this production, her history and grace is something to behold, to revere, and be recorded. To that end, in 2014 she was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award from Arts Health Institute for whom she is now an official ambassador. This upcoming production of Eileen's will ensure that her legacy will live forever, for generations of dancers to come.

So, how has Eileen 'gone viral'?


Photo: ABC News 

After ABC News ran a wonderful story - by Antonette Collins - on Eileen and since an ABC new site Australia Plus posted it on their Facebook page, it has been viewed over 2.2 million times, at a rate of 10,000 views every 15 minutes.

You can watch that by clicking on the word 'post' below:





The shares, the likes, the comments, the love… it's all there, from every corner of the globe.

What we now want for Eileen is to help translate that social media love into actual funds for her crowdfunding campaign, set up by Arts Health Institute, on the Pozible site.

See that link here: http://www.pozible.com/project/190787

With less than one week to go, Eileen is almost than half way there.

Not only will the funds go towards helping stage 'The Early Ones', any additional funds will be given directly to Eileen to help give her a better life.

At age 100, Eileen Kramer is the absolute embodiment of what living a beautifully long life looks like, and this national treasure is set to showcase the beauty of positive ageing for an eager audience, including the dance and arts world, in this all new production titled ‘The Early Ones’ – an original work she has created and choreographed, her first Australian production. 


In February, Eileen was invited to Bundanon (the famed gift from Arthur Boyd, a 1100 hectare bush land property in Kangaroo Valley NSW), for their Arts in Residence program. Over one week, the spirited Eileen worked with rehearsal director, Julia Cotton, some of Australia's most talented dancers, and composer Nicolas Lyon, who is writing the original music for ‘The Early Ones’, which will explore human evolution, influenced by four metaphorical characters.
Photo: Simon Cunich
The Pozible goal is $26,000, which will go towards the modest fees for the nine dancers, their costumes, the musicians and the music composition, the theatre hire and the technical and support crew.
The Arts Health Institute has supported the initial set up of the work while at Bundanon, and now a campaign around profiling Eileen has evolved and subsequently a call out to help fund this dream, which will see the work that has been developed performed on stage. Beyond ticket sales, any extra funds covering the cost for her production will support Eileen to improve her quality of life. Eileen lives quite an independent life, but rather than living day to day, it would be extraordinary if the love and care felt for Eileen can be translated into financial support to ensure she has what she needs to keep creating as long as she can.
This is a rare opportunity to see Eileen's work and the influence of the legendary Gertrud Bodenwieser. And so, not only is this an important work of historical significance, but supporting it will help realise Eileen's dream.
Sydney-born Eileen, now age 100, is truly a national treasure. She studied at the Conservatorium of Music, where she immersed herself in piano, the theory of music, and singing, with visions of becoming an opera singer. Soon after introduced to the Vienna-borne Bodenwieser Modern Dance Company, Eileen immediately began to study dance under the close guidance of Madame Gertrud Bodenwieser herself, and the Viennese dancers, touring with Bodenwieser for a decade.
The significance of Gertrud Bodenwieser on the Australian dance world cannot be underestimated: in introducing her style of modern dance it spawned the beginnings of Australia’s contemporary dance scene, changing the Australian dance landscape.
Eileen then contracted a kind of ‘walkabout fever’, and followed her heart to India, where she explored and remained for three years, later moving to London and Paris where she spent four years, before settling in West Virginia, United States, collaborating to create original works.
See www.artshealthinstitute.org.au for more on the Inspiring Eileen campaign, and see http://www.pozible.com/project/190787 for more information on the Pozible crowdfunding for Eileen, as well as clips of her work being created.
You can see more of Eileen - and what Arts Health Institute do - on their YouTube page here.
Want to know more Arts Health Institute?

The Arts Health Institute brings the arts and healthcare together to change worlds. A non- profit organisation, they work to improve lives through the integration of the arts into all aspects of health and age care environments. The Arts Health Institute has health professionals and artists working side be side to improve healthcare delivery. The Arts Health Institute delivers life-changing programs across Australia and across an ever-growing array of demographics and health conditions. Taking its inspiration and creative guidance from renowned Australian performer and mime Jean-Paul Bell, the Institute works to carry on his legacy of artistic engagement through its landmark programs. Always at the forefront of artistic innovation, they work with a number of research institutes to ensure their work is evidence-based. The Arts Health Institute is a thought leader in the field, offering consultancy services, education and their yearly Play Up Convention, where ideas around health and arts are challenged and explored by internationally renowned presenters and artists. The Arts Health Institute is a hub for creative ideas in healthcare and through their unique membership system; they connect a world of professional practitioners around an arts hub. The Arts Health Institute is passionate about the arts and their effect on healthcare. Their credo: through the arts we live healthier happier lives.

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