His name is Barry, he is a showman. With big and feathered hair, and two hips the worse for wear.
Put aside any angst at the revelation that 61-year-old Barry Manilow is still out there, dancing and belting out Copacabana to packed-out audiences at his residency in the Las Vegas (where else?) Hilton. Instead, have some sympathy for his impending visit to hospital, where he will undergo surgery to get his worn-out hips fixed.
Proof, perhaps, that age and dancing don't mix? Not according to Justin Cobb, an orthopaedic surgeon at Imperial College London, who has seen his fair share of hip-related injuries. He says that dancing is a very good idea for the elderly because of its benefits in keeping bones strong and the heart active. "One should encourage dancing," he says. "Professional dancers are extraordinarily fit."
Hips wear out because they are slightly wonky, says Cobb. That means the hip joints are uneven, leading to one side being used ever so slightly more than the other. Thus, eventually, one bit wears out more quickly than the rest. This can be partly down to genetics - if you have lots of elderly relatives with metal hips, you are more likely to eventually need one yourself.
Getting older inevitably means that things don't work as well as they used to, but that's no reason to stop using your body. Exercise is an important factor in staying healthy and can even promote healing or help keep some of the effects of ageing - weakening bones or muscles - in check. "Our advice is that exercise is important to keep older people healthy but not to push themselves by doing physical activities that are beyond their capabilities," says a spokesperson for Help the Aged. "Know your limits. Only when somebody is very, very frail would going to the disco every night be problematic."
Reports suggest that Manilow has indeed torn a labrum, something that can be fixed with surgery. A convalescence period of around two months will see him back and giving it some high-energy dancing at the Hilton once more.