Your vision of what’s possible in your future is about to become a whole lot more exciting! What do you imagine yourself doing when you’re in your 80s? Keeping up with old friends? Golfing, perhaps? Well, wait until you meet Kara ‘Bang Bang’, Quick Silver, and the whole crew at Hip Op-eration: the oldest hip-hop troupe in the world!

This hip hop dance group is unlike any that you’ve ever come across! For a lot of us, the idea of growing older can feel limiting. But just because we may have to slow down a little as we get older, doesn’t mean that we should expect ourselves—and our loved ones—to stop learning new things! Here’s how one group of seniors is taking hip hop to new generations, and loving every minute.

Image: Six member of Hip Op-eration posing

Source: Twitter

Get up and dance!

According to founder Billie Jordan, the rules for joining Hip Op-eration are simple: you have to be over the age of 65, and you have to have a pulse. “Some of them had dementia, some of them had walkers, there were about 17 artificial hips and knees,” Billie notes in the video below. A few other dancers are totally blind, while others have lost their hearing.

But these limitations are only limiting if they let them be. So, Billie has created a unique way of teaching them some sweet moves in ways that they can understand! Coming up with new names for the dances like “starfish wee-wee’s” or “blue suede shoes” 1 and practicing the movements over and over again—so that their muscles do the heavy lifting to remember the actions instead of their brain—allow these seniors to hit that beat like nobody’s business.

Founded in the small New Zealand town of Waiheke Island in 2012, Hip Op-eration provides an opportunity that most people over the age of 65 don’t get. No one expected a dance group where the average age is 81 to make it to the world hip hop championships, but they did!

To meet a few people in the crew and to see them in action, Oldyssey brings us a clip of their story in this fantastic video!

Via: Oldyssey 2

Oldyssey is a channel that I was recently introduced to! They’ve traveled the world, seeing how people are handling the generational gaps and the ways we’re creating better, more fulfilling lives for those in their golden years.

They’ve even created a way for those hoping to learn a new language to do so by connecting with seniors in different countries, with ShareAmi! Find more of their work and more about them over on their website.

The story of Hip Op-eration!

If you’re like me, that one video simply wasn’t enough information about this phenomenal crew. Thankfully, their founder, Billie Jordan, gave a TEDx Talk back in 2015 that gives a fantastic overview of the reasons the crew was started (might surprise you!) and the benefits the dancing has had for not only the members, but Billie herself.

Here’s Billie on the TEDxAuckland stage, sharing the story of what inspired her—someone who is not a hip-hop dancer at all—to teach 27 seniors the moves that would end up stealing the hearts of millions. Make sure you catch Hip Op-eration’s full performance at the event after this video!

AND HERE THEY ARE: HIP OP-ERATION!

Find more great TEDx Talks by clicking here!

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” —Malala Yousafzai

When it truly comes down to it, we have no idea how our lives are going to pan out in the end. But none of us need to sit down and wait for the inevitable to happen! No, instead, we can choose to expect ourselves to learn something new throughout our lives; to keep dancing our way through it all.

Take the limits off of yourself!

Just because you maybe don’t have the same hips you were born with, doesn’t mean that you can’t shake them just the same. You’re capable of anything that you put your mind to, and anything that gives you that feeling of true bliss, happiness.

For the members of Hip Op-eration, it was pushing themselves out of their comfort zones, onto the stage of the world’s biggest hip-hop competition, and making their mark in the Guinness World Records. For these next senior folks, this time in life looks a whole lot different, but still just as beautiful.

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As always, dear friend, stay open to new possibilities. You never know what’s around the corner, but you better know it will help you grow.

  • Sam

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Notes:

  1. SBS Dateline. “Hip Op-Eration: The World’s Oldest Hip-Hop Crew.” YouTube, 9 Aug. 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSY53oPurl0. Accessed 14 Dec. 2020.
  2. “The Oldest Hip-Hop Crew in the World – YouTube.” Www.Youtube.com, Oldyssey, 2 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=8V5Y39r8v6c. Accessed 15 Dec. 2020.
  3. TEDx Talks. “The Hip Op-Eration Crew: The World’s Oldest Dance Troupe | Billie Jordan | TEDxAuckland.” YouTube, 21 July 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=saRWpSqQpPA&feature=emb_title. Accessed 14 Dec. 2020.
  4. TEDx Talks. “D Floor Damager | The Hip Op-Eration Crew | TEDxAuckland.” YouTube, 21 July 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsJjOxGhAE0&feature=emb_title. Accessed 14 Dec. 2020.

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and taster of cheeses.