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Eileen's no 'ordinary' centenarian

What will you be doing when you're 100? Chances are, probably not choreographing a dance performance, making costumes, or taking part in a major production.
Eileen Kramer is no ordinary centenarian. She has been dubbed quite possibly the oldest – still working – choreographer on the planet.
Eileen Kramer is no ordinary centenarian. She has been dubbed quite possibly the oldest – still working – choreographer on the planet.

But that is life for the irrepressible Eileen Kramer. No ordinary centenarian, Ms Kramer has been dubbed quite possibly the oldest – still working – choreographer on the planet.

Formerly a member of the Bodenwieser Dance Company, Australia’s first modern dance company, Ms Karmer today remains a choreographer, dancer, costume maker, artist and writer.

The 100 year old told Channel 10’s The Project recently that she fell in love with dance immediately when she saw it, a love affair that led to her performing all over the world. She met some legends of the stage including Ella Fitzgerald, and was even taught the twist by jazz supremo Louis Armstrong.

“I tend to live in a fantasy world… and dance is a kind of fantasy,” she said.

At 99, Ms Kramer returned to Australia after 40 years in America, and has now choreographed her first production in Australia, The Early Ones. Created over one week, Ms Kramer worked with talented Australian dancers in her role as an artist in residence at Bundanon in its Arts in Residence program.

But funds are needed to stage this important work, which has historical significance and will be the realisation of a dream for Ms Kramer – who herself will perform if possible.

Cynthia Payne, SummitCare chief executive and founding director and chair of the Arts Health Institute, says Ms Kramer is an extraordinary woman.

“Not only is she an incredible artist, but she gives us all a rare gift of enabling us to access the history of dance firsthand,” Ms Payne says.

“Her passion is an inspiration, especially considering that Eileen lives in a hostel for those who are at risk of homelessness," she says.

The Arts Health Institute has provided financial support to get The Early Ones to its current stage, but in order for it to be performed at The Independent Theatre in North Sydney on 13 March at 8pm and 14 March (2pm and 8pm) more funds are required.

“We require help to raise modest fees for dancers, costumes, musicians, theatre hire and technicians,” Ms Payne says.

“My team at SummitCare is donating money for the event, as well looking forward to attending, and I would encourage any other organisations or individuals that can support Ms Kramer's efforts to do so.”

Show your support for Eileen Kramer's The Early Ones production. Any extra funds raised will be used to support Ms Kramer's quality of life.

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