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 consists of 19 women and one man, according to NPR. The youngest is 50 and the … ahem, most seasoned dancer is 76. Some members are former NFL cheerleaders, but there’s also a dentist and a breast cancer survivor, NPR notes. They gave their first performance for the Wizards in November and have appeared 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, who calls herself “Nana,” the team creates a space of healing.
“I was laying around having a pity party ’cause I lost my husband eight years ago,” the 76-year-old told NPR, “and my mother [passed away] two years ago and in between I had brain surgery.” She adds, “This is really lifting my spirits.”
“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 competed for a spot on the team—and if you think it was an easy process, check out season one of Road to Wizdom, AARP’s reality YouTube series:
While older dance squads may seem like a novelty, they’re actually part of a growing trend. According to NPR, there are at least a dozen other dance squads in the NBA that feature folks who are at least 50 years old.
Correction: Sept. 22, 2019, 4:35 p.m. ET: This story has been edited to remove unattributed text and deleted tweets.