At 95, there is little that Tao Porchon-Lynch has not done in life. She grew up in India, travelled the world and met interesting people including Mahatma Gandhi, taught yoga to the stars in Hollywood and has the world dancing to her tune. Seriously.
This Indian-born French woman has been a model , an actor and is now a ballet dancer, a performer whose talent has been recognised not just by her peers but also by the Guinness Book of Records which has entered her name as the world’s oldest dancer.
“Everyone wants to know the secret behind my dancing… All I have to say is, at this age I can dance only for the love of dancing. I breathe dancing.” This is what she had to tell a spell-bound audience at a premium mall in Mumbai where she left audiences slack-jawed with her ballroom dance with ace dancer and choreographer, Sandip Sopparkar, early last week.
The grand old girl is as spirited as they make it. An India-lover, she keeps returning to the world she grew up in. The last few times she visited India she mesmerised audiences by teaming up with Soparrkar to demonstrate their combined skills, with the aim of promoting the joy of dancing. That she takes joy in letting her hair down is evident from the fact that she has been a regular name amongst the winners at dance competitions all around the world.
The multi-facetted woman has lived life like few people much younger to her. Wearing her trade mark saree and walking tall on heeled shoes— she once went on a trek to Machu Picchu with 3-inch heels — Tao Porchon Lynch thrives on action.
At almost 87, when she felt herself less energetic, she took to ballroom dancing. That was in 2002 and today she has over 400 first prizes from various dance competitions , in her kitty.
But before dance she discovered yoga, immersed herself in it and set up a yoga class in New York way back in 1982. That career took her to the stars of Hollywood who she took under her wings for various health–related issues beginning with French film actress and dancer Leslie Caron, of the musical An American in Paris fame. So impressed was Hollywood with her yoga that MGM asked her to conduct yoga classes for its superstars. The lady holds a Guinness Book record for being the oldest Yoga instructor at the age 95 in 2012.
“I want non-dancers to be inspired by the exuberant energy showcased by Tao Porchon Lynch & take cues to come forward & learn the art of dancing. If a woman at her age can, then anybody can. I am thrilled & overwhelmed to perform with a dancer of such stature,.” Soparrkar said of the experience of matching steps with the diva.
‘Be like a tree,’ Tao famously said when an awestruck Indian fan asked her for her secret formula for dance. We wish this terrific woman many more years of dance.