y Sarah Mansheim
Usually, going viral at 100 years of age sounds like a health scare, but for Eileen Kramer, it’s just another blip on the radar of her long, creative life. According to various reports from across the globe in Australia, the 100-year-old dancer, who left Greenbrier County in 2013, was featured on Australia’s ABC News and the report has been viewed over 2.3 million times and counting.
Kramer worked as a Trillium Performing Arts core artist for 20 years, and has not slowed down much since her return to her native country. News reports say that she has lost vision in one eye, leading her to create a new form of dance which she has named “minimal expressionism.”
“Mostly I stand still and perform,” she told ABC News Australia.
Kramer’s new production, “The Early Ones,” is set to be performed in Sydney next week, for which she has joined with the Arts Health Institute in sponsoring an online fundraising campaign.
“The dream is to be able to raise enough funds to be able to put the show on,” the Arts Health Institute’s Executive Director and CEO, Dr. Maggie Haertsch, told Australia’s Channel 10 News.
People who donate to Kramer and her project can do so at pozible.com. Donors who contribute $50 will receive a copy of a signed image from Kramer’s notebook used to create “The Early Ones.” A $150, $500, $1,000 and $5,000 contribution (with other fantastic rewards including performance tickets and signed copies of her autobiography Walkabout Dancer) is also available. Kramer’s Pozible fundraising website is www.pozible.com/project/190787. The fundraising deadline is March 9, and the goal is to raise $26,000. So far, 146 donors have raised nearly $12,000 on the site.
“An artist lives with luxury of spirit. By the nature of things artists need patrons. Your support is greatly appreciated,” said Kramer on the Pozible site.
Kramer’s biography is set to air on ABC Australia’s television program Compass on March 15 in an episode titled “Dancing @ 100.”
Kramer contacted the Mountain Messenger via email, and said she has been receiving “lovely” messages from Lewisburg.
“Yesterday we looked at my dance work, The Buddha’s Wife [one of Kramer’s pieces she choreographed and created costumes for as part of Trillium Performing Arts], that Trillium had sent to me. I was deeply moved when I looked at it and saw the Trillium dancers who worked with me on that production. I felt sentimental and told everyone here about Lewisburg,” she wrote.
Trillium remembers her fondly too. Their fall concert was inspired by, and dedicated to, Kramer in honor of her 100th birthday.
“Eileen provided Trillium and the Greenbrier Valley with historical reference and reverence of modern dance. She constantly moved forward creatively with inspired drawings, costumes, story themes, choreography, and writing, all embracing her deep appreciation of humor, spontaneity, and sensuality. We are so thrilled that she has developed supportive and appreciative connections upon her return to her beloved Australia,” said Larry Levine, business and school coordinator for Trillium.
Residents who wish to see what Kramer has been up to over the last year may visit several websites that show her current dance projects. The websites are: