When the curtain came down after 117 performances, the two continued their act, renting a studio twice a week where they still trip the light fantastic, now at age 90.
All this is documented in a 20-minute short film by Douglas Blair Tumbaugh and Greg Vander Veer called, aptly enough, "Keep Dancing." It's part of the Dance on Camera Festival co-presented by the Dance Film Association and The Film Society of Lincoln Center and will be shown at the Walter Reade Theater in Manhattan Feb. 1 at 4 PM (the first screening was Jan. 29 at 6 PM).
"I would say it's about graceful dancing, but it's not about the kind of dancing either one of us used to do," Champion admits. "You adjust. In the film, I ad-lib a line I like: 'You just do every decade, not for what it takes away but what it gives you.'
"The movie is more about aging than dancing, but it's a metaphor for saying, 'Look at this. This is your passion. Without this, you're a dead pigeon.' Longevity and enjoying the later days of your life — yes! But you can't try to be young and beautiful. It doesn't work. You've got to be old and knowledgeable and pass on the torch."
The New Dance Group, the 77-year-old studio space where most of the film was shot, has now vanished from the scene, but these two boogie on — save for the days when Saddler calls up at the last minute and says he is "not up to concert level."
— Harry Haun