Buy this book at
To Past Reviews Index
Back to Last Page

Walkabout Dancer

Eileen Kramer

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Trafford Publishing

Published : 2008

Copyright : Eileen Kramer 2008

ISBN-10 : PB 1-4251-7359-4
ISBN-13 : PB 978-1-4251-7359-3

Publisher's Write-Up

Eileen Kramer's journey of self-realization as a creative artist from the magical world of the bush land of Australia to the intellectual and intuitive world of modern dance.

Eileen Kramer spent her childhood listening to the kookaburras and sailing along the coast of Australia. Dwelling on this island continent, it was not surprising that the rest of the world rarely visibly manifested itself through the window of Eileen's existence. A creative, magical spirit from the beginning, young Eileen left school at an early age, finding a course that enabled her to go her own way.

Eileen's life was changed in 1939 when she attended a performance of the Bodenwieser Dance Company in Sydney, opening the door for her world travels and her remarkable journey through life. The dance company taught its dancers more than just dance. Through Madame Bodenwieser, Eileen absorbed European culture - appreciation of music, art, architecture, politics - in other words, the dance company brought about a life-changing way of thinking.

Eileen's journeys to India, Australia, Paris and the United States have influenced her dances and have blended a wonderful intermingling of styles. She carries with her a spiritual "dilly bag" filled with ideas and images she has gathered from her world travels. Lyrical, expressive, and always creatively imaginative, Eileen Kramer's choreography, costumes, and philosophy have proven an inspiration to all those around her. This lovely book chronicles Eileen's life with tales of her travels, experiences, and escapades, as we watch her dancing lightly through the years.

About the Author:
Eileen was born in a suburb of Sydney called Mosman's Bay. With her family, she spent long summers in the Australian bush, or cruising along the coast of New South Wales and Queensland in the Astoria, her fathers boat. In school, Eileen was dreamy and not satisfied with her classes. She left early and later enrolled in the Conservatorium of Music. There she took piano, theory of music and singing, hoping to become an opera singer.

Upon seeing a performance of the Bodenwieser Modern Dance Company, from Vienna, she immediately began to study dance in the newly formed Bodenwieser School and three years later was given her first role in the professional company. In her close relationship with Madame Bodenwieser and the Viennese dancers who had come from the most intellectually exciting city in Central Europe the Australian students learned much more than dancing. The arts were subjects that entered into their daily conversations.

After ten years of touring with Bodenwieser, the walkabout fever overcame Eileen. Following a long tour of India, she returned to that vast sub-continent alone and stayed for three years, then went on to London and Paris where she spent four years, before coming to the United States. While visiting in West Virginia, Eileen met some contemporary dancers who welcomed her into their performing group. With the support of Trillium Performing Arts Collective, these dancers and choreographers, create new original works each year. Eileen among them still creates dances in the expressive style of Bodenwieser.

Column Ends


Reader Reviews

Why not Submit a Review your own Review for this book?

Review by Fiona Baile (310112) Rating (8/10)

Review by Fiona Baile
Rating 8/10
As a child growing up in Sydney it was a regular thing for Eileen Kramer with brother and parents to go sailing up the coast in her Father’s boat, or for the family to drive off on intrepid journeys into the bush. It is likely that these early experiences led to her peripatetic life and her ability to make herself at home in some of the most unlikely places. In Pakistan with a group of friends, the gate across a bridge had been closed and they were unable to go any further. A group of gypsies appeared, and invited the travelling group to share their evening meal - despite stories they had heard about such danger, all passed off well.

As a teenager she studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music until she was taken to see Madam Gertrud Bodenwieser’s group of dancers. As soon as she saw them performing, she knew that this was what she wanted to do and managed to be accepted first as a student and later as a dancer with the group. They toured around Australia and then New Zealand, and the various places they stayed and adventures experienced are described in a very matter of fact way. Her awareness of the spiritual aspect of aboriginal places and respect for these sacred areas is way ahead of her time bearing in mind that these tours took place in the forties and fifties. Her sensitivity to the spirit of the place is also apparent at a later point in India.

When touring in South Africa, they arrived at the theatre and discovered that their costumes were lost somewhere in transit. Eileen with the help of a couple of Wardrobe staff, created the costumes for the evening’s performance. She made clothes for herself and friends, mostly without the help of a pattern, cutting out the fabric and stitching with or without a machine. She was always creating:in India she painted panels to decorate the bare walls of the hotel where she was staying, so that the guest would have something to look at while sitting around. Later she created and painted masks for a drama of her own devising.

From India, where she had separated from the Bodenwieser group and become independent, she went to London and then to Paris. Eventually she left to live in New York and after some time moved on to West Virginia where she became involved in the Trillium Performing Arts Collective.

At the age of 97 she continues to dance, choreograph and create. This book is inspirational for anyone who thinks that age is catching up with them.
Fiona Baile (31st January 2012)

Back to Top of Page
Column Ends