Inspiring

Former prima ballerina with dementia starts dancing again after hearing “Swan Lake”

November 19th, 2020

Have you ever wondered how would you feel if you started forgetting? If your most precious memories started slipping from your mind? Dementia is one of the most serious and frequent diseases and causes of disability among seniors in the world.

According to WHO (World Health Organization) around, “around 50 million people have dementia, and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year”. This number seems astonishing, especially if you consider the major impact that has on the lives of these people.

The people hit with Alzheimer’s start with mild symptoms that gradually tend to get worse. A person within a few years becomes unrecognizable and ends up just a shadow of his/her former self.

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Flickr Source: Flickr

Some of the basic symptoms that the patients present are memory loss, difficulty concentrating and following a conversation. They also become dependant on others as they start to find it difficult to carry out everyday chores. In the end, these people end up in nursing facilities where they are under the continuous supervision of caretakers.

Our story today will move even the toughest among us and it will make you tear up, so prepare the tissues because by the end of this story you will be really emotional.

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YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

This is the story of a great woman, who once upon a time used to mesmerize the crowds on the ballet stage with her graceful moves. Meet Marta C. Gonzalez, an accomplished former ballerina from Spain who back in the 1960s used to be the prima ballerina for the New York Ballet! Unfortunately, Marta passed away in 2019 because of Alzheimer’s.

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YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

She died in Valencia, Spain, where she spent the last years of her life sinking in the slow oblivion that only a disease such dementia can cause. However, just before she died she was visited by a Spanish charity called Música para Despertar. It’s a charity organization that uses music in order to help people suffering from Alzheimer’s and similar ailments to remember something or make them feel special.

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YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

Through headphones, they played for Marta part of “Swan Lake” by Tchaikovsky, a piece of music very familiar to her as she had the opportunity to dance to it back in her active ballet years.

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YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

As the music starts, we can see that something familiar starts to stir inside her. She recognizes the music and her hands begin to move in their own volition.

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YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

She suddenly stops, clearly emotionally touched, and we can see her inner struggle.

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YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

The man from the charity tenderly tries to encourage Marta to let go and follow her instincts. And look at her!

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YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

Her arms start to drift up and down, following the pattern of the music, a choreography long forgotten but never truly erased from her memory. It’s obvious that if she hadn’t been confined to this wheelchair, Marta would have started to dance even without truly knowing what she was doing.

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YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

We can see how graceful her arms are moving despite her old age or her condition. She still has the ability to mesmerize us. She really is breathtaking.

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YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

Although Marta is now gone, through this video she gave us not only a once in a lifetime performance, but she showed us that although the people suffering from diseases such as dementia and Alzheimers aren’t truly “gone” and there is part of them still living and remembering. Rest in Peace Marta!

If you would like to enjoy Marta’s whole performance, check out the video below.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Source: Inspire More, WHO, NHS

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