Even silver-haired girls just wanna have fun.
While most of the town went about its daily business Wednesday morning, an older audience at the Wendell Community Center went cat-calling wild for a Rockette-esque performance.
Even more impressive, the athletic performers were also all over the age of 55.
The Dancing Divas of Raleigh and the East Wake Strutters of the East Wake Senior Center entertained a few dozen seniors with numbers ranging from KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Boogie Shoes” to Christina Aguilera’s “Candy Man.”
The Dancing Divas started in 2005 and have performed all over the state, even winning gold medals and blue ribbons at the N.C. State Fair’s Folk Festival and the Senior Games. Meeting twice a week to practice, the group’s oldest member is 73.
Graced in sequined fedoras and a glittery red and black mini-dress, the Divas entered the stage to perform “Almost Like Being in Love,” a 1940’s piece by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, and attracted cheers and admiring whistles from the crowd.
Their finale concluded with Rockette high kicks and twirling black batons to “New York, New York.”
“This is like heaven to us,” performer Linda Hancock said. “Listening to our feet (click on stage) was amazing.”
Led by Tanya Barrett, the East Wake Strutters showed off line dancing choreography to modern songs like “Uptown Funk” and older songs that they had learned at the East Wake Senior Center.
The group – self-described “Oldie Goldies” – is more than 20 years old, and holds many exercise classes as well as auditions for the advanced performing group.
Members from both groups agreed that one of the motivating factors was improving their memories and keeping their minds sharp.
“It’s good exercise,” said Jean Williams of Garner. “It keeps our minds busy since we have to remember all of the steps.”
The women – and one gentleman of the East Wake Strutters – have a variety of backgrounds. Some have tap-danced or trained as ballerinas, but most have simply participated in social dancing.
Anita Williamson, a Wendell resident, said that she discovered the group through one of her former patients when she worked as a dental hygienist. Before she joined the group, she said her only experience dancing was socially.
And while their tours improve their own fitness and agility, both troupes agreed that they dance to serve the community.
“Music seems to touch seniors where other things might not,” said Daryl Hughes of Raleigh, the youngest member of the East Wake Strutters. “It gets their toe tapping.”
“People whom we’ve performed for say they’ve seen (seniors) who haven’t shown any expression clap, tap their foot... it makes a small difference.”