Kramer at age 104
|Birth:||8 November 1914|
Mosman Bay, New South Wales, Australia
|Age:||106 years, 348 days|
Eileen Kramer (born 8 November 1914) is an Australian dancer, artist, performer, and choreographer.
Eileen Kramer was born and grew up in Mosman Bay, New South Wales, Australia with one sibling, a brother. Her father, a car salesman, began showing signs of alcoholism when Kramer was age 10, leading to her mother leaving and secretly relocating with the children to Coogee when she was age 13. Her mother then began working as a store detective. In 1936, when her mother remarried, Kramer left home and lived in a shared cottage with psychoanalyst Richard Want on Philip Street until 1940 and studied singing at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. To support herself, she worked as an usherette and an artist's model, In 1940, her mother took her to a charity concert which included The Blue Danube, performed by Gertrud Bodenwieser's dance company. The next day, Kramer sought out Bodenwieser, and after successfully auditioning and completing three years of training, she joined Bodenwieser’s main troupe and began her career in professional dance.
Kramer toured Australia with the Bodenwieser Ballet for the next 10 years. The group also toured internationally post-war to France, New Zealand, South Africa, and India. After leaving the troupe in 1953, she travelled to India, then lived and worked in Paris continuing as an artist's model. In 1957, she met Israeli-American film-maker Baruch Shadmi. in the mid-1960s, Shadmi suffered a stroke and Kramer effectively put her dance career on hold for 18 years while caring for him in New York. He died in 1987. In 1988, Kramer resumed her career and moved to Hinton, West Virginia to live with an old stage friend, before moving to Lewisburg in 1992. In 2008, she self-published her first book, Walkabout Dancer, an account of her life.
In September 2013, Kramer returned to Australia at the age of 99. In 2014, to mark turning 100, she crowdfunded, choreographed, and performed a dance piece
Kramer never married nor had any children. Her first relationship was with Richard Want, her psychoanalyst, in 1936. She also had a romance with a French diplomat while in India. Kramer later had two extended relationships while living abroad, with Baruch Shadmi (1920–1987) and William "Bill" D. Tuckwiller.
- Sydney woman proves age no barrier with first-time entry in Archibald Prize ABC News, 2 April 2019
- Louis Armstrong helps celebrate Eileen’s 106th birthday Eileen Kramer (eileen-kramer.com), 9 November 2020
- The dancer aged 106 who bans the word 'old' - BBC News 31 May 2021