Move over, Laker Girls. The Washington Wizards team is taking a more mature approach, with the Wizdom, a dance team of mostly women – some as young as 50, others in their 70s – who take the court to show all of us that you’re never too old to have fun. And make no mistake: They’re hardly retiring.
The Wizards dance team for seniors is showing fans you are only as old as you feel. “The first performance that they did, you would have thought that we won the game”, said Derric Whitfield, Wizdom’s director. “They get a really intense crowd response – people standing up out of their seats, standing ovation”.
Choreographer Derric Whitfield says the 20 performers, 19 women and 1 man were selected from 55 who auditioned. The members have had past careers as dancers and performers on dance troupes and even as Washington Redskins cheerleaders
The Wizards added the 50-and-over dance squad amid a $40 million offseason revamp of their arena and an expansion of their in-game entertainment. At least a dozen other NBA teams, including the Chicago Bulls and theGolden State Warriors, have dance teams for older adults.
“What I want to prove with this team is, everyone can dance”, Whitfield said to the cameras. “Dance is for people of all ages”.
The Wizdom dancers practice for two hours on most Sundays, usually with three rehearsals between each performance. They learn their minute-long routine at the first practice, hone their formation at the second rehearsal and refine the whole dance on the last day.
No boundaries of age
Sixty-four-year-old Theresa Cizmar said: “I don’t accept the boundaries of age. Period. I don’t accept. My husband’s 18 years younger! I just don’t accept it. I don’t know who the ‘They say you can’t do this’ is because I want them to come, and we’ll have a chat!”.