Correction: This article originally stated that Marta C González was a dancer with New York Ballet. It has been amended to clarify that González was instead a dancer with her own company in New York, and that the footage of the younger dancer is of Russian dancer Ulyana Lopatkina.
Some things you never forget. A video of a former ballerina with Alzheimer’s disease has moved people around the world, after she remembered the choreography she once danced.
Marta C González was a prima ballerina with her own company in New York in the 1960s. The team at Spanish charity Asociación Música para Desperta allowed González to relive her youth last year, by playing her Tchaikovsky’s famous Swan Theme, from the ballet Swan Lake.
To their delight, she instantly recognised the music and began to move her arms to reflect remembered choreography – as poised and graceful as ever.
The video of González dancing in her chair is cut with footage of a Russian dancer named Uliana Lopatkina performing on stage, which the charity has called “a metaphor for Marta’s past”.
González died later in 2019, but the magical moment has reached millions this week, after the video was shared on Twitter.
Pepe Olmedo, psychologist, musician and director of Música para Despertar, who appears alongside González in the video, describes it as one of “the most impressive moments that I have been able to live in all my life”.
″[I was] absolutely excited to be able to see her response, and to be able to accompany and facilitate this moment, so that she could fully enjoy it,” he tells HuffPost UK.
Olmedo has been able to witness other remarkable moments through the organisation, which is dedicated to educating people about the power of music in helping people with Alzheimer’s.
He and his team also provide training for professionals and families to create fulfilling experiences for those affected by the disease.
“We want to show another more positive side of dementia, and of the possibilities we have to improve their condition thanks to music, emotions, and an appropriate attitude on the part of caregivers,” he says.
The video from Spain comes after Nick Harvey, from East Sussex, shared a clip in September of his father, Paul Harvey, composing a melody, despite living with dementia.
The BBC’s Philharmonic Orchestra was so impressed by Paul’s composition, they orchestrated and recorded their own version – which Paul and Nick were then able to listen to on Radio 4.
It has since been released as a single, and two weeks later, it is number 17 in the official charts – and even Stephen Sondheim has sent his congratulations.