Soon after I told y’all about auditions for a youth competition dance team, Kathleen Meyer had news for me: Her dance team is still on the move, too – and they’re looking to grow.
Meyer dances with Razzmatazz, a team of ladies dancing Broadway-style through their golden years – they’re all over 58 – to tunes and choreography that help them stay active and fit, both physically and mentally.
It also keeps their passion for dance alive and well, and they stand strong as a sister circle of support through life’s triumphs and trials.
Razzmatazz will lay out the red carpet of auditions this month, hoping to welcome a few more ladies who want to keep their bodies in motion and their minds sharp with professional choreography expressly for audiences born around the same time.
An audition date will be set later this month. It is open to women 58 and over, preferably with some dance acumen.
Since they came on the scene in 2013, Razzmatazz has won top titles at the Wake County Senior Games and earned a standing ovation after their finale performance at the 2015 Miss North Carolina Pageant. The group has been invited back for an encore at this year’s pageant.
“We dance for the love of dancing, for exercise, for fun, for socialization and for community service,” said Meyer, 68, adding the team designs its own costumes. “I could be feeling achy and tired, but … I hear the music and start to dance, and all the aches and pains go away. It’s the truth: It brings me a lot of joy.”
Razzmatazz was created by Judi Hinton, 76, who still manages the team, which rehearses at the N.C. Dance Institute on Duraleigh Road.
“I didn’t have a clue whether it would be successful or not,” said Hinton, who owned her own dance studio in Louisburg in the 1960s. “But I thought, ‘I can’t be the only person in my age group who still wants to dance, and dance well.’”
The Razzmatazz audition will be a group audition, like a class, Hinton said. The team is looking for newcomers who either have some dance experience, or natural talent and ability. They’ll pay close attention to musicality – how a dancer moves to the music’s rhythm, melody and mood, and how quickly she grasps choreography.
“If we have a huge turnout, we might even think about starting another group,” Hinton said, adding the team requires enthusiasm as well as a devotion of time, energy and commitment to “constantly learning new routines and styles of dancing.”
Razzmatazz shows vary to engage audiences and highlight team members’ specific talents. There are yoga moves, singing and, of course, a tap-dancing duo.
Razzmatazz often works with professional choreographer Freddie Lee Heath, who now oversees arts education for the Wake County Public School System after 30 years in the classroom.
“What I say all the time is this: What does 50 look like, or 60, or 70?” he said. “Well, you see it when you look at them. They are the new face of aging in 2015.
“They all should be commended for being dedicated to the art of dance, and to their fitness and wellness.”
Razzmatazz dancer Gari Gill agrees. She hasn’t stopped dancing for long since she was 5, when her dad insisted she take tap lessons. She even went on to dance and cheer for the NFL’s Washington Redskins, back when Sonny Jurgensen was quarterback, after she was married and a mom.
“It’s something I’ve always loved to do, too,” said Gill, 72, who also helped create a competition twirl team with other mothers for their daughters. “It keeps me young and energetic and healthy.
And, she added, “It’s a true sisterhood.”
But even if you aren’t interested in joining Razzmatazz, Hinton said, “Never stop dancing. Even if you can’t dance, dance!”
Find out more
To learn more about Razzmatazz, including how to audition, email Judi Hinton at email@example.com.