Who said auntie can’t have some fun too?
While most visions of NBA dance squads brings to mind young 20-somethings, a recent halftime show for the Washington Wizards showed that age ain’t nothing but a number. These wise elders know that one of the keys to life is found in living in fullest joy.
Sponsored by the elder services company AARP, the Wizdom dance squad is comprised of 19 women and one man; ages range from 50 to 76, and includes former NFL cheerleaders, a dentist, several grandmothers, and a breast cancer survivor. They made their debut appearance for the Wizards in November and have performed at several home games since.
“We are part of what I like to call the Fame, Flashdance, and Let’s Get Physical generation,” said Wizdom dancer Cindy Hardeman, 60, to NPR. “We’re just taking it into our elder years…If we were to top it in order of why we do it, I’d say fun, fun and fun.”
For other team members, like Wizdom’s oldest dancer, Nana, 76,the team creates a space of healing.
“I was laying around having a pity party cause I lost my husband eight years ago,” Nana told NPR, “ and my mother [passed away] two years ago and in between I had brain surgery....This is really lifting my spirits,” she says.
“To our surprise we are able to do things we didn’t think we could do,” says Christopher Johnson, 53, the one male member of the team. “It’s motivating us to even go further, to practice more, to be part of other dance classes.”
More than 50 people tried out for Wizdom, a process which can be seen in season one of Road to Wizdom a competition reality show produced by AARP:
While older dance squads may seem like a novelty, they’re actually part of a growing trend. According to NPR, Wizdom is one of at least a dozen other squads for dancers who are 50 or older in the NBA.
You can catch a couple of their seven current routines below: