A record-holding dance crew is crushing ageism with its members' awesome moves and dedication.
Started in 2012 as a flash mob, The Hip Op-eration Crew holds the Guinness World Record for oldest dance troupe. Twenty-two members between the ages of 68 and 96 make up the New Zealand-based company, which has performed at the 2013 World Hip Hop Championship in Las Vegas as well as in front of 15,000 people in Taiwan.
See the crew in action at a TED Talk performance below.
Billie Jordan, the group’s founder, manager and choreographer, told The Huffington Post that six crew members are deaf, one is blind and four use mobility aids. There are 14 knee and hip replacements among them, and none of them have been dancers before, including Jordan who used YouTube to learn how to dance. Though the crew comes with its challenges, the 46-year-old said that seeing the dancers reach their full potential makes it worth it.
"It can take a lot of time to see progress, as a four-minute dance routine can take them 18 months to learn, but it is very rewarding when you see them doing it really well and watching their confidence grow," she said. "It makes it all worthwhile."
There are perks for the dancers, too. According to a TED Talk Jordan gave earlier this year, the dancers' doctors said their health has improved since joining the crew. For 71-year-old member Leila Gilchrist, whose hip hop name is Leila G, the group has had more than just a physical effect.
"I used to be quiet and reserved and lived very much in the shadows of my late husband. But now I'm having the best time of my life -- dancing in front of thousands of people, meeting people of all ages all over the world and learning that I really can do anything I set my mind to," she told HuffPost.
Jordan, who also runs a travel company for senior citizens, said the group's current project is a routine for select members that is four times faster than their past dances. The members have no plans on slowing down, especially 71-year-old Marie Turfrey, also known as Missy M.
"There are people in the group more than 20 years older than me," she said. "I'm actually the second youngest, so I'll be going for at least another 20 years. I'll do hip hop until I drop dead."
Check out more of The Hip Op-eration Crew below.
H/T The Telegraph
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