Hip Op-eration Crew Are Ageing with Attitude
Waiheke-based Hip Op-eration Crew is the oldest hip-hop dance group in the world with 22 members and an average age of 81. Manager and choreographer Billie Jordan, 45, founded the group to inspire other senior citizens all over the world and help reduce the stigma of ageing.
Jordan says that people think investing in the future of anyone over 60 is a waste, regardless of the fact that they are only two thirds through their life.
“It’s appalling and needs to stop. Seniors have so much untapped potential which could not only bring joy and inspire others, but also make themselves feel more valued, happy and healthy.”
The group, who performed at the 2013 World Hip Hop Dance Championships, have adopted names such as Quick Silver (Maynie Thompson, 96, and the oldest member) (pictured), Kara Bang Bang (real name Kara Nelson, aged 95) and Sergeant Sel (Selwyn Redwood, 94).
Giving the crew something to work towards, a new focus in their lives, has benefitted them on many levels.
“I’ve noticed huge changes,” Jordan says.
“Physically they look about ten years younger and their doctors say they’re healthier now than they’ve been in years.
“They’re more joyous, confident, self-assured, positive and excited about their futures. They’re completely different people.”
Bryn Evans’ film about the group won Best Documentary, Best Director and Best Cinematographer at the 2014 NZ Film Awards and was the fourth most popular film (out of 300 other world finalists) at the prestigious International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam (2014). It also won the Audience Choice award at the Santa Barbara Film Festival in February 2015.
Original article by Margaret Jennings, Irish Examiner, October 3, 2015.