Video Of Ballerina With Alzheimer’s Remembering “Swan Lake” Choreography Goes Viral

Alzheimer’s is a disease that deteriorates memory over time and varies from person to person. More than five million Americans have Alzheimer’s and it is the most common form of dementia, affecting 60-80 percent of cases.

People with Alzheimer’s have difficulty with new information and the disease can affect mood and behavior and cause confusion. In more advanced cases, patients often have difficulty speaking, swallowing, and walking.

It is thought music and dance can restore or hold memory and those with Alzheimer’s can access certain memories through these arts. For Marta González, a former prima ballerina, music brought out choreography that was embedded in her body for years.

González — who passed in 2019 due to Alzheimer’s — was a New York City ballet dancer during the 1960s. Most notably, González was a prima ballerina who danced in the New York Ballet.

The years-old recently resurfaced when celebrities like Jennifer Garner and Antonio Banderas shared the video on their social media accounts, grabbing the attention of millions.

Garner’s post caption read: “Our innate connection to music, to movement, to the arts, is beautiful. This former ballerina’s sense memory of Swan Lake—just does me in, it’s so lovely. Thank you to everyone in the fight against Alzheimer’s.”

As of this writing, the video has been viewed 1.3 million times on Twitter and nearly 650K times on YouTube.

The video originated from Asociacion Musica para Despertar, a Spanish organization that uses music to help dementia patients’ mood and memory. Many studies have proven how the arts — music, dance, artmaking, etc. — have positive effects on memory. A 2018 study discovered music is able to activate parts of the brain spared by Alzheimer’s. Not just any music, though. Music with a deep personal attachment has the strongest effect, which explains why Swan Lake instantly triggered choreography for González.

Music is more powerful than we think.


Written by Lindsay Patton