Washington Post says she is seizing the spotlight at the Dance on Camera Festival
By Sarah Richardson
Former Lewisburg resident Eileen Kramer has made international headlines this week with a Washington Post article detailing her dance entry, “Eileen,” for the 50th edition of the Dance on Camera Festival. The festival, which is presented in New York at The Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater, contains entries from 37 countries and spans over four days.
Sarah Kaufman with The Post calls Kramer’s performance “a four-minute stunner,” and details her enchanting submission:
“Kramer performs mostly seated on a chair, her hair pearly and glowing, the skin of her bare arms like shirred silk. She flutters a fan, causing tendrils of smoke to twist in the air around her. She rolls her hands in space and curls her arms around her body, transported by the lute and clarinet music, but also, it seems, by an irrepressible spirit of wildness. She shatters all manner of expectations, and it’s exhilarating. She is uninhibited, at her ease, vivacious, drawing you in with her naturalness and making you feel you’re involved in life itself. Importantly, this is an encounter you could have only on film, with the intimacy and focus of the camera.”
Kramer, who was born in 1914, resided in West Virginia from 1988 to 2013. She first lived in Hinton before moving to Lewisburg in 1992. She was heavily involved with the Trillium Performing Arts as a core artist, and released her first book, Walkabout Dancer, in 2008.
Her travels took her to many exotic parts of the world including India, Australia, Paris, New York, London, South Africa, Turkey, even Afghanistan. She absorbed the cultures and customs she encountered – appreciation of music, art, architecture, and politics – and stored inspirations for dance dramas in her ‘India Bag,’ her reference to a dilly bag, an Australian outback basket made of rushes or bark, as a device for storing memories and images.
A BBC News story published last year detailed how Kramer continues to write, choreograph, collaborate with other dancers, and enter painting competitions.
Along with The Post and BBC News, Kramer has been featured by ABC News Australia, Dance Informa, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Griffith Review, HuffPost News, and a slew of other publications too numerous to list.
For more information on the Dance on Camera Festival, visit www.filmlinc.org/festivals/dance-on-camera-festival.
To stay up-to-date with Kramer’s latest performances and works, visit eileen-kramer.com.
Eileen Kramer is an Australian dancer, choreographer, artist and writer – a true creative spirit – born in 1914 and still making art in 2022 at the age of 107.
Eileen was an original member of the influential Bodenwieser Ballet, Australia’s first modern dance company. Joining the company in 1940, she toured with them extensively for a decade, both within Australia and internationally, then spent the next 60 years living and working overseas. She danced and painted murals in Karachi, worked as an artist’s model in Paris and London, met Ella Fitzgerald and Groucho Marx, and learnt the twist from Louis Armstrong.
In the 1970s, she made a full-length feature film with her partner, Baruch Shadmi, using stop-motion animation shot entirely in their New York apartment. When Baruch died in 1987, Kramer moved to West Virginia, joined a performance collective in Lewisburg, and began to dance again, as well as design costumes and choreograph new works.
She returned to Australia in 2013 aged 99, because she “missed the kookaburras and the smell of gum trees”, but her creative energy remained strong. She choreographed and starred in two dance dramas for the stage in 2015 and 2017, and collaborated with award-winning dance filmmaker Sue Healey on several short films. She had roles in Belvoir’s production of The Wizard of Oz (2015), and the Foxtel series The End (2020) and danced in music videos for the likes of Lacey Cole (2014) and Sarah Belkner (2015).
Eileen published her first memoir, Walkabout Dancer, in 2008, and a fantasy novel The Heliotropians, in 2009. This was followed in 2018 by Eileen: Stories from the Phillip Street Courtyard, chronicling her bohemian adventures sharing an inner-Sydney rooming house in the 1930s. Then, in 2020, the COVID-19 lockdown saw her spinning her vast trove of memories into the imaginative tales that became the book Elephants and Other Stories, as well as conceiving a new work for film, The God Tree, released in 2021.
Information from eileen-kramer.com.