Oscar Wilde once wrote that “music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory.” For Marta Gonzalez, a former “Primera Bailarina,” sometimes called the “First Ballerina,” of the Rosamunda Ballet Company and School in New York, nothing could be more true.
Alzheimer’s may have robbed her mind of her memories, but the music and her art were stored in her soul.
Shape writes, “It’s no secret that music and movement can help you connect with your body. But one viral video shows just how powerful that connection can be.
The clip shows Marta C. González, a prima ballerina who danced in the New York Ballet in the 1960s. In the video, González, who reportedly died in 2019 after developing Alzheimer’s disease (the most common form of dementia), is seen listening to Swan Lake and reenacting — from her wheelchair — what appears to be the choreography to the ballet. Despite the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on her memory, González seemed to immediately feel an emotional and physical connection to the music she once danced to on stage — and the video of her remembering the choreography is sure to give you goosebumps.”
NPR tracked down Marta’s story. “The video was recently shared by the Asociación Música para Despertar, a Spanish organization that promotes music therapy for those afflicted by memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Since then, media organizations, celebrities and individuals across the globe have shared the video of former dancer Marta C. González.
The video is undoubtedly moving and uplifting, and it speaks to the power of music and dance for those suffering from memory loss. González elegantly moves her arms to the music, her eyes flashing with purpose. But many questions have arisen about González — and what the video purports to show.
Música para Despertar says that the video was taken in Valencia, Spain in 2019, and that González has since died. The charity also claims that González was a former prima ballerina with “the New York Ballet” in the 1960s. There is no such known company and the New York City Ballet does not list anyone by that name as one of its alumni.
Alastair Macaulay, a prominent dance critic formerly with The New York Times, has been chasing González’s history and posting his findings to Instagram. On Tuesday, Macaulay posted that he has located a mysterious 1966 document, bearing what appears to be a Cuban governmental stamp, from a non-existent organization called “The Higher School for Professional Studies, Nueva York,” saying that “Marta C. González Saldaña” could be called a “prima ballerina” in the “Ballet de las Américas” — but there is no such company in New York or anywhere else in the U.S.”
“In the video, González was joined by the organization’s founder Pepe Olmedo, who is a psychologist, musician and director. The moment was captured somewhere in Muro de Alcoy, a town located inside the Spanish coastal city of Valencia, which is around 268 miles away from Granada,” Fox News wrote.
“It is for us an honor that Marta González’s video is moving the whole world. It is very important to make more people aware of the power of music, dance and art in people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, as well as in our own lives,” Música para Despertar told the news channel. “Little by little we are getting more data about the immense Marta González, and thus being able to know the history behind the artist. She was formed in the ’60s in Cuba with the Nicolay Yavorsky Ballet School.”
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Is it me, or are things a little dusty in here?