I honestly never think about the number of years I have been on this planet. But I do think about the millions of miles my divine, wonderful and dependable feet have travelled, and it never ceases to amaze me. All these years of supporting this body, they continue with absolutely no complaints and even encourage me to jump rope three minutes each day and dance the tango in those three-inch heels every day. How do they do this?
I talk to them, massage them, oil them and truly love them. I forget about all the years in those cruel toe shoes, standing and dancing on the points of my toes. Cruel is a very gentle word, when I think of the suffering. The bloody toes and the pain and yet -- 92 years later -- they still respond with no complaints and look rather good.
And what about the broken ribs that happened once, during a rehearsal of the Broadway musical "Brigadoon"? Then, with my dancing partner Don Weissmuller and again with my tango partner Felix Chavez. All of which magnificently healed. What an absolute miracle we all have and live with and, most of the time, don't appreciate. We take for granted, we forget what a gift we live with. Cost us nothing, just to enter. So yes, you may think this is a miraculous happening, coming full circle and dancing this time, the Argentine tango.
I rise each morning with boundless energy, looking forward to the challenge that faces me each day. And maybe the once perfect memory is not always so perfect in odd ways. Like, what's her name? Starts with an S right? Oh damn, how could I forget her name, she's my sister! That's really embarrassing and a cause for reflection. Or forgetting the step I just learned yesterday. That's really devastating, but it's OK.
I still jump rope and practice yoga daily, with joy. There is one little irritating bump. Not remembering my own lyrics to my own songs! Although there is an assist; exercises for the brain. Would you like to try one? Here we go. Take 10 words, any words, repeat them out loud forward and backwards, 10 times each way. Do this before sleeping. Then (this is not easy), when you wake up in the morning, repeat these same 10 words. Uh oh! Just an idea. Try it! It happens to be a great stimulant, not only to the brain, but strangely enough to the whole body.
I have worked constantly with my body, as long as I can remember. Not because I wanted to live long, but because I wanted to live well. The length of living this life never entered my mind. Just working to stay alive and in love with my daily life. That was, and is, the stimulus.
I had the good fortune of choosing a career that never seemed like work. Dancing in New York in the 40s and 50s was sheer fantasy. Broadway musicals were booming, successful and no repeats. I have been and still am a happy camper at 92 or whatever number comes up. It's just numbers. The rest is living!
I intend and probably will be standing on my head, doing pushups and leg splits, as long as the sun comes up! That's my plan. If I celebrate this day of my birth, April 4th, it's only because I celebrate each day, I do a headstand and awaken to another surprising, challenging and creative day.
Probably one of the greatest challenges to both dancers and athletes is knees. As much duress you put on your feet, knees are the workhorse of the body. When they're feeling good, we ignore and have little respect. Or even think about them, until the cartilage starts to move where it's not suppose to move. Etc. And what about hip replacements? Forget I even mentioned that! Hopefully yoga has and will take care of that.
It always comes back to the same thing. I am where I am today for only two reasons. I love what I do and I move. It helps to love what you do and to move. They both come first. Birthdays are secondary. Birthdays let everyone else know you're still here. You know you're still here.
In conclusion, I'm doing a show on Thursday, April 16th in Los Angeles. I'm dancing with Marcos Questas, my tango professor and -- that night -- my partner. I'm also screening my documentary short film "Phyllis." It's free and I'll be there to greet you, dance for you, and maybe sing a little.
"An Evening with Phyllis Sues"
Celebrating her 92nd Birthday
Thursday, April 16th at 8PM
L. A. Dance Experience
1941 Westwood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
RSVP to: RSVPPhyllisSues@gmail.com