If you need a heartwarming pick me up, this is the story for you.
Last month, a video featuring a woman living with Alzheimer’s was released by a charity aimed at improving the lives of dementia patients through music. The woman is a former prima ballerina and can be seen in the clip dancing away to the music from Swan Lake.
The dancer’s name is Marta C. Gonzalez.
She seems to have immediately recognized the music to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake when it was played for her as she sat in her wheelchair.
Marta waved her arms around in rhythm to the music just as she would have done when she was younger and dancing in the New York City Ballet.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky composed the famous Swan Lake around 1875-76. The ballet tells the story of a princess who was turned into a swan by an evil curse. The story was inspired by German and Russian folk tales. It is arguably the most well-known ballet ever composed.
Marta certainly never forgot a note of it.
Swan Lake first premiered in 1877 at Moscow’s premier ballet house, The Bolshoi Theatre. There have been many different renditions of the performance through the years, but perhaps the most famous is the version produced in 1895.
Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov staged that rendition in St. Petersburg Russia at the Mariinsky Theatre. Most modern dance companies base their Swan Lake performances on this version of the ballet.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that impacts memory and thinking skills. Some people who live with the condition are unable to remember things from their own past, let alone carry out simple tasks.
Despite living with the condition, Marta’s memories of Swan Lake were still very much alive in her mind.
The video begins with Marta listening to the music of Swan Lake through a pair of headphones. At first, Marta seems hesitant to dance in her chair, but as the music gets going she allows herself to surrender fully to it.
At that moment, Marta was taken back to the days when she was a prima ballerina, gracefully dancing to Swan Lake. She is performing the same movements from the original dance.
The video has gone viral, having been viewed more than 8 million times. Marta has again delivered a masterful performance, just as she would have done when she was a professional dancer.
Unfortunately, Marta Gonzalez passed away shortly after the filming of this video.
She spent her final days living in a care home in Valencia where some wonderful and caring people helped her relive her days as a ballerina.
This beautiful moment was created by a Spanish charity named Asociacion Musica para Despertar, which translates to Music Association for Awakening. The organization seeks to improve the lives of dementia patients through the use of music.
They released this video recently to help draw attention to the many ways that music can improve the lives of those living with dementia and related illnesses.
Experience prima ballerina Marta C. Gonzalez dancing to Swan Lake in the video below.
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