Elissa Fuchs Has Been Dancing For Almost 90 Years

10:31 PM, Aug 3, 2011   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC - She has danced through 13 American presidents. She started her professional career three decades before Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. How many people can say they'd like to continue working right into their 90's? Elissa Fuchs already is.

Fuchs, who is 92, said dancing is keeping her young.

"It's keeping my body young and I know it's keeping my mind alive," Fuchs said.

It was nearly 90 years ago when Fuchs was only three years-old that she made the decision dancing is what she wanted to do.

"That was all I wanted to do, go on the stage. And at 16, my dream came true through just a miracle," she said.

Fuchs landed a job performing the Vaudeville circuit. That kicked off her career on Broadway, then performing with the world class Russian Ballet and then onto the Metropolitan Opera. Fuchs said she was doing what she was born to do.

"I was someone else on the stage. I loved being on the stage," she said.

That's when she fell in love with a young opera conductor and married. She knew then she would have to decide between her beautiful career and a beautiful family.

"My dancing career was over. I was a teacher and I wanted to be a momma and nine months later my daughter was born," she said.

So Fuchs stepped from the spotlight and into the studio as a teacher and choreographer, sometimes with her husband.

"I choreographed, he would conduct and we would have horrible rehearsals fighting about tempo," she said.

Fuchs opened her own ballet school in Louisiana before moving to Greensboro and instructing students at the Greensboro Ballet.

At 90 years-old, she thought she might have to give it all up for good, as her hearing faded. Fuchs said she could still feel the beat of the music, but she had to rely on her students for help.

"They would help me. They would say no Mrs. Fuchs you're going too slow or you're going too fast," she said.

After a cochlear implant at 90, she was back to the bar, teaching.

"All I wanted them to do was to learn and be serious and dance for the love of it," she said.

Even though you'll no longer see Fuchs doing pirouettes and grand allegros, her students said they know they're learning from the best. Fuchs isn't done teaching, not yet.

"I'll do it as long as the good Lord will let me," she said. "It's what I do and what I am."

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