NZ Hip-Operation Crew Set to take World Stage

New Zealand hip-hop crew ‘Hip-Operation’ are set to perform at the World Hip Hop Dance Championship in Las Vegas this August. What sets them apart from the competition? About 50 years. The Waiheke Island based dance collective, made up of 37 senior citizens, claims to be the world’s oldest hip-hop group. The oldest member, Granny V aka Ms Violet Hollis, is 96 years old, though others are in their 60s and 70s. The group was formed by Billie Jordon who moved to Waiheke after she was injured in the 2011 Christchurch Earthquake. She told the Wall Street Journal, “I thought, if I survive this I am going to move to Waiheke Island and l’m going to live life like there’s no tomorrow; and I got here…and the only other people who felt the same as me were senior citizens.” Though not all of the crew will be attending the competition in August, some have dropped out since being invited and some worry about the toll the long-haul flights will have on their health, about thirty of the crew are planning on attending. Granny V is among those planning on making the trip and her family fully support her decision, “We discussed what would happen if she died over there,” explains Hollis’ son Brian, aka ‘Brown Bear’, also a member of the crew. “I said I couldn’t afford an American funeral, so she said she was willing to come back in a Tupperware box.” Brenda Long, aka BB Rizzell, explains some of the aliments that the members of the group have had, “I have had a triple bypass and there are lots of people here with hip and knee operations. We’re the spare-parts team.” But that’s not stopping them, “we will die dancing” she says smiling. Amongst the entourage is Doctor Carol Nicholas, who has explained to the group the risks of the trip – the flight length and the desert heat – but “being old is also a risk,” Nicholas explained. “There is an inherent risk in sitting at home, too. Life is too short.”

Tags: Hip-Operation  Waiheke  Wall Street Journal (The)