Greatest Achievement

Feb 27, 2020

I guess I’ll talk about my greatest achievements. I have Parkinson’s, as you all know. I’ve had it for 31 years. A very long time I’ve had it. And it’s still a miracle I can get it together and exist, but it’s not just a miracle, a lot of hard work goes into it. But, and it’s also a lot of wonderful programs and support and good friends that make it possible.

My biggest support is Mark Morris has the dance program for people with Parkinson’s. It was started by a woman named Goldie Westheimer, who was a dancer herself. Her husband was a neurologist, and she wanted to do something in the field as a retired dancer that would incorporate the two. So she got this brainstorm that maybe dance would work for Parkinson’s people, even though at the time everybody thought that was crazy because with Parkinson’s, a person can’t move and they very stiff, so how can that person dance?

Turned out that she was right. There’s something about moving to the music that overcomes some of the rigidity brought by the disease. And so they had a program that they filmed. Over the course of the year this film was made, it was issued called “Capturing Grace,” and I’m one of the main people in the film. And it’s a very positive picture of the centers. It has the same message, you know, they relay some very positive, reinforcing meaningful things for people to experience and participate in those groups.

But the crowning glory was that from that film, this woman saw it, a choreographer in Manhattan, she wanted me to be in a performance she was doing. I performed that one in the theater for 15 shows. They paid 4,000 dollars. And I don’t know if I could do it now, that was 10 years ago. It was a beautiful performance. She has a video tape.

First of all, there were like three stages done around the same time. I mean, I’m so thankful. We’re lucky to live inn New York, you know, in a city that has so many resources.