NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There is a group of seniors that has been dancing together for two years, and when COVID-19 hit the troop didn’t miss a beat.
CBS2’s Cindy Hsu recently caught up with The Pacemakers.
They make up a dance team of seniors ages 50 to 81. Before the coronavirus pandemic, they’d perform at Brooklyn Cyclones games. There is an audition process, but only a few requirements.
“You have to be at least 50 years old, you have to have rhythm, and a desire to perform,” said group founder Susan Avery.
And you have to be ok with your age. Avery is 60.
“And then on the back, we wear our year of our birth, proudly,” she said of the dancers’ attire.
Among The Pacemakers, there is a priest, a former Rockette, teachers and Vietnam veteran Roger Nick.
“We bust a move and I have to admit we bust a good move,” Nick said.
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When COVID-19 hit, the monthly rehearsals moved online and Broadway choreographers, like Stephanie Klemons of “Hamilton,” jumped in to help.
“It keeps your mind going, too. This way, you’re not always thinking about the bad things that are happening right now. You have something to look forward to with our rehearsals,” Nick said.
Their chief choreographer is Heather Van Arsdel, a former captain of the Knicks City Dancers.
“They have more passion and energy, I would say, than any younger team because they feel grateful that they’re able to do it,” Van Arsdel said. “It inspires me because I actually… want to be one of them one day.”
Van Arsdel teaches a lot of hip hop.
“We all have our hip hop names on the back. Mine is ‘Chief Heart Murmur,'” said Avery.
Everything is volunteer and the dancers said they hope they’ll inspire other seniors to get moving.
“You don’t have to be a bodybuilder or a marathoner to be a healthy senior citizen. All you have to do is move. There are plenty of YouTube videos, totally free, and you just follow them,” Avery said.
Meanwhile, The Pacemakers will keep rehearsing, until they can once again share their love of dance with a crowd.
The Pacemakers will be holding auditions in January, virtually, and the reason the group is calling 50-year-olds seniors is because that’s the age when AARP sends you a card.
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