AARP Eye Center
The Takeaway: "Timeless Torches" Dance Team Defies Age Stereotypes
By Elizabeth Nolan Brown, March 12, 2012 08:40 AM
Our main thing is shocking the audience and showing them that no matter what size you are and how old you are, you can still dance and represent," said Margaret Hamilton, 42, a dancer in the group since its debut in 2005. "I was representing all the heavy-set people, to show that fat people can move."
The Torches, who feature both men and women, held auditions last week. Among past troupe members re-auditioning were Luis Jimenez, 47, a 300-pound city bus driver, and Denise Bellog, 59, who lost her hearing 16 years ago.
"You can have any look, any hair color, be any weight," said Amanda Rebisz, a member of the dance team for the New York Knicks and the Torches' choreographer. And while smooth moves are important, Rebisz said what she most looks for in dancers is individuality; unlike the highly synchronized movies of most dance teams, the Torches have the freedom to take ownership of dance moves.
Shirley Koehler, 71, and a performer with the Torches for the past six years, demonstrated this nicely during her audition:
Ms. Koehler finished a flawless rendition with some personal touches. She stuck a pose and swiped her hand down her right side, slowly shaping her figure. Then she stared at the judges and mouthed the final song lyric: "I'm sexy and I know it."
The Torches aren't the only nontraditional dance troupe making the halftime-show rounds, however. About a dozen National Basketball Association senior dance squads have formed in recent years- read more about them (and watch them perform) here.
Monday Quick Hits:
- Can "snore rooms" save boomer marriages? About a quarter of couples over 55 sleep apart to get a good night's rest, according to PulteGroup.
- Love letters written by a young Richard Nixon to his future-wife Patricia will be unveiled Friday as part of an exhibit at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. "These letters are fabulous," said museum curator Olivia Anastasiadis. "It's a totally different person from the Watergate tapes that people know."
- The proportion of American college presidents who are older and (ostensibly) nearing retirement has soared over the past two decades.
- Fix your 401(k): Patching the holes in your plan could mean a more secure retirement.
- Profile: Marie-Therese Connolly honed her prosecutorial skills fighting nursing home fraud. Now she's determined to raise awareness about the "ubiquitous" problem of elder abuse, and its cost to both seniors and society.
- And iconic (and aging) actorsare increasingly popping up in TV and YouTube infomercials pitching products and services to the boomer and senior crowd.
Photo: Cal Sport Media/AP