by athan


by athan


My answer to cancer – The Last dance

I reach up at consciousness as I lay half awake in a heap of sore and stiff muscles on the floor. My eyes struggle to open and depart the sweetness of my dreams. Dance has once again come to torment me to whisk me away from the ordinary, and into my pain, my ecstasy and my fantasy. Why now after 43 years does dance come calling once again?  My settled and well aged muscles, ligaments and tendons are screaming for mercy. I am scheduled to dance again on May 13 2018. It will be broadcast live on social media.

Athan solo choreographed by Flora Cushman

This is the second day of my 30 day journey into the most unfathomable moments of my past. My sudden entry into the world of dance. Why must I once again answer the call of the siren that’s been whispering in my ear for decades? I have managed to resist her hypnotic song of my sweet dread for a long time. I have not longed for this moment this insane moment of truth. It has arrived uninvited. How far can I push my inner will to manifest above and beyond all normal development or physical ability? Soon I will find out. I gave myself 30 days because to prolong it would be too painful. If It can be done then 30 days should be enough.  I am on a personal quest to recreate a solo dance I performed dozens of times in Jerusalem in the late 70s and early 80s. A controlled frenzy stemming from a juxtaposition of intensity and relaxation in 12 minutes. It was created for me by the legendary dance educator and choreographer Flora Cushman. It fit me like a glove; it challenged my technical abilities just enough so I could overcome them without sacrificing my self expression. This is the mark of a great choreographer the sweet spot in dance.

Athan solo choreographed by Flora Cushman 1981

I dig through my half forgotten memories trying to decipher the sequence of movements that elude me. My body very conveniently remembers things slightly differently, easier and with less effort. With age comes knowledge of energy conservation and mindful application. The youthful body needs to rid itself of the excess energy, increasing the effort in order to disperse and dissipate it. The older physique conserves and distributes energy where most needed; “I want it all now” my heart is heard screaming over the moans and groans of my lungs desperate gasp for more oxygen. The pull and push of reality vs fantasy rips at my inner being like a Samurai sword through butter. Fantasy prevails and I continue my quest.

In the past I would run up and down stairs before every performance to the point of exhaustion. The amount of energy I would gain as soon as I stepped on stage was too much for my well rested body to handle; it would cause me to tremble and shake and interfere with my rhythm and timing. Entering the performance space exhausted was the ideal way for me to reach peak performance. Like an athlete in the “zone” I was able to reach beyond my abilities and overcome my technical deficiencies. I was much better on stage than I could ever hope to be in dance class. When people would see me in class they would not recognize me. In class I would trip and fall, lose my balance and stumble across the floor out of tune and out of place.

Athan Solo 1981 choreographed by Flora Cushman

For now I will continue to defy the sense of reality and the mindless pursuit of mediocrity. As a wise man once said you cannot continue to act the same way and expect a different result. Greatness cannot rise out of mediocrity but very often we see mediocrity rise out of greatness. It is the basic trait of politicians, academics or an artist who exchanges his calling for a secure position.

There is a great battle being waged inside me. I attempt to defy the odds and climb the mountain. I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer last October 2018. Of course the cancer would be aggressive. This is my response:

This dance is my answer to cancer 

Art can be an effective treatment for many diseases. To fight cancer and win there must be a complete overhaul on everything that caused it in the first place. All the positives must be brought together all the negative characteristics must be eliminated. My first line of defense when faced with cancer is ATTITUDE.

Dance represents to me the strongest motivation for success. It also contains a huge reservoir of emotion which if properly channeled can create miracles. Dance is also my best example of making the impossible possible. Within 2 short years I went from having no dance training, or desire, to securing a full scholarship to one of the best dance schools in the world, and dancing on the stage of the Herod theatre at the foot of the acropolis… the place where I had witnessed my first ballet performance only 2 years earlier.

UPDATE June 16 2021: Now I am focusing on the healing powers of olive oil phenolics as a potential treatment. Next step is to publish it as a case study. We did not manage to raise enough funds to do a pilot study but results will hopefully be published as a case study.

Currently I am combining intermittent ADT injections with high phenolic olive oil and a vegetarian diet.


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