Watch This Emotional 'Swan Lake' Dance by a Former Ballerina with Alzheimer's

Prima ballerina, Swan Lake

Photo Credit: bezikus/Shutterstock

A video of an elderly ballerina dancing to the music from Swan Lake, despite battling memory loss, has gone viral after being shared by an advocacy group.

Taken in 2019, the video features former prima ballerina Marta C. González seated in her wheelchair and situated with headphones. After assistance, the music from Tchaikovsky's ballet Swan Lake plays in González’s ears, and her entire posture shifts when she recognizes the notes. She begins moving her arms in tandem with the movements she once made as a dancer. The video is cut with snippets of a standing ballerina, not González, doing what appears to be Swan Lake choreography.

A report by NPR noted that the choreography shown in the video is actually “solo piece 'The Dying Swan,' a dance set to music by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns from his longer piece 'Carnival of the Animals.' ” 

The Asociación Música para Despertar (which translates to Music to Wake Up To) is an advocacy group for people with Alzheimer's disease and other memory loss. They shared the heartfelt moment of González on their Facebook page last week, where it racked up hundreds of thousands of shares and responses.

“A ballerina will always be a ballerina. ❤First #Ballet dancer in New York in the #Years 60, gave us excitement to blossom skin, listening, feeling, and flying along with one of the songs of her life: #Tchaikovsky Swan Lake,” reads a Google Translated iteration of the post’s caption on Facebook.

The post also notes that, sadly, González has since died. In response to the post, there’s been an outpouring of support from fans who have shared homemade artwork dedicated to the dancer’s memory and the impactful moment seen in the video. The video even garnered the attention of Sir Ian McKellen, who shared the post with his own followers.

In other posts, Asociación Música para Despertar calls González a “director, choreographer and ‘Cousin Ballerina’ of her own company and school in New York and Madrid” and explains how they came to know her and work with her. They also thanked fans for their support of González.

“Thank you to so many millions of people who shared, danced, and cried with Marta's sublime moment. Thank you immensely for helping us raise awareness, and that Music and Love are part of the accompaniment to people with dementia,” they wrote.

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