Life is the best teacher if you can really realize how to learn from it. Each day, every minute life teaches you a lesson. Take it to be winner or leave it to be a loser, may be you won’t realize it immediately but soon. The future brings up the result, how good a student you are in life’s classroom. I never understood how to extract high spirit out of regular life until Morris dance taught me the trick. But, today almost at verge of my retirement age, I proudly feel myself as a winner.
I am Edward Thorndike, a 55 years old, simple and humble man from the lively village of Alvechurch, in the Worcestershire County. I am a life’s winner. If you are already assuming that I am big stunt, a business tycoon, a sports icon or a star person, well that’s not true. I am a simple man with no star connections.
You must be wondering what makes me feel so proud and confident about myself. Well, to be frank, standing in my age, I realize, it is not the recognition from society which makes you a hero, but it is you yourself. I am a dancer, a country dancer. If you are already thinking that this oldie is eccentric, I can assure you, I am not. But yes, I know dancing at the age of 55 years sounds a bit outlandish. But, I believe I am in love with dancing, particularly the form I follow that is Morris dance. Ever since I have started dancing I have had a peculiar realization. Believe it or not, it is only my body that is aging, not my soul, it is still free and youthful, high spirited and lively.
I was not a born dancer, nor did I learn dancing ever since my childhood. You may say I took up dancing passion as I started aging. I was a bit over weight, with a slightly bulging belly. However, I always maintained personal fitness mantra, that is morning walk, but with stops for breathe after every 5 minutes. I was 39 years old when I first started tapping my feet on the rhythmic beats of music for Morris dance. Today, I am professional show man in a Country Club in Alvechurch, where I have my own group of dancers for Morris Dancing. Every week I perform 3 to 4 shows in the club.
My life is now almost incomplete without Morris dance. However, I was not a dancer as I said earlier, and neither was dancing my profession. I was a mere clergyman. It was some my musician friends whom I met during my morning walk hours who introduced me to this aspiring dance form.
Almost 14 years back, when I was in my late 30s I was trying to cope up with several challenges in my life. Mentally I was not satisfied with my job, which I found boring, as I was a playful person always. Besides, in personal life, I was dreaded with the fear of my potential diagnosis of breast cancer. Since, 35 years of age I had a small lump like formation behind my breast nipple. Treatments were not fruitful. It was 4 years later, when I was 39 years when I suggested referring to Oncologist for better diagnosis. I was scared. Every evening after work, I used to shut myself in isolation. My family was frustrated too. Mentally and emotionally I needed something to grip over.
One fine morning, when I was returning home after morning walk I met with Charlie and Benjamin, two friends who played violin in one of the Country clubs. After a few minutes of chit chat they sensed my depression and welcomed me to one of the cultural programs in Alvechurch that day. I was reluctant; however, they were good friends, so at last I decided to join them.
Morris dance was the main attraction of the program, and the man leading the performance was in his mid 40s. I was highly inspired with the program and took up a challenge to learn the dance. I travelled all the way to London, to take professional Morris dance classes. I was reliving my life by then. I realized this was the fun which I was missing all throughout these years. Soon I bagged in the dance form, and I could step on the beats with the ringing bells enlivening my moves with effortless ease. It was during those 3 years that I sensed I had overcome all the mental and emotional fatigue. I was always in elevated and jolly mood. My wife and my only daughter who was only 9 years then, were also happy for me.
Within the next few years I was doing small County performances with a small team of 4 men, who joined me from the London classes. We gained reputation soon. I commenced into professional shows, and expanded my team which is now a complete team of 12 members.
But I was aging too. My family was worried about my health, but I could a renewed strength in my muscles. I had already risks of osteoporosis from the prolonged breast lump treatment. But, Morris dance gifted me healthy bone conditions too. My spatial strength and balance was commendable within years, may be due to the balanced straight positions maintained in dance moves while using tricky props like handkerchiefs or swords.
As per clinical tests even at this age of 55 years my bone conditions are quite fine. Moreover, I don’t even have issues of hypertension or lung problem, common for this age. However, I have to admit the best part about the physical effect of Morris dancing in my life, which is the steady loss of 26 pounds within 2 years.
Morris dance is the passion of my life. It has rejuvenated my life when I was about to delve into the black hole of depression. Today, I have not only recovered from my fears of breast cancer, but I am a healthy man, with healthy mind and body and a soul which is in love with the essence country life and culture, the spinal of Morris dancing.
I personally find this dance, and everything about this dance, pretty unique. Which is why I have posted a few interesting stories below about individuals experiencing Morris dancing…