The Senior Moments Dance Team got its start when Richard Walker, retired owner of Champion Friction, issued a public invitation in The Register-Guard to join a seniors’ flashmob. Seventy-seven people showed up to that first rehearsal at the Vet’s Club in May of 2013, and the group’s been dazzling audiences ever since.
With notches in their belts for performances at the Oakway Center, Valley River Center, various retirement homes and, most recently, the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, Senior Moments wins hearts wherever they go. For the uninitiated, a flashmob is when a group of people who, seemingly spontaneously, flock together to perform a pre-organized performance, from pillow fights to choreographed dance numbers, like Senior Moments, in a public space.
“The most amazing thing is, people love us because we only last about a minute,” quips retired financier Mike Morrison, the self-elected “founding officer” of the group.
“No,” counters Connie Manning, owner of Bare Bones Dog Wash, “people love us because we’re old and entertaining.”
With a corps that hovers around 40 members (“We lose some in the winter, because people may not want to drive at night,” says retired teacher Gwen Curran), Senior Moments is open to anyone age 55 or older. Currently, their oldest dancer is 92.
According to Sharon Snow, a retired professional fundraiser, one secret to their success is their choreographer, Robert Schwartz. “He has a sensitivity,” Snow says. “He makes us look good.”
“My core belief is for everyone to be included in whatever way is appropriate for them,” Schwartz says. “I like to bring dancing to where they are.”
Schwartz notes that there’s an elevator at the Vet’s Club where the group meets on Monday nights at 7 pm, and dues are kept as low as possible. There’s a discount for nonagenarians (ages 90-99) and a “three-digit free” policy.
With his colleague Jenn Hess, Schwartz has guided a group of mostly first-time movers from shopping malls to a world-class stage. “People are so much better than what their self image thinks they can do,” Schwartz says.
The Senior Moments members tout improvement in their memories as the greatest benefit of learning and executing choreography. “This dancing is good for old folks,” Morrison chimes. And beyond the cognitive, the group creates a pleasant social atmosphere. Snow adds, “People are concerned if you’re not there at rehearsal.”
Right now, the group is rehearsing a sultry new number, “All That Jazz,” for upcoming benefit performances Aug. 10 and 16.
Curran says, “We’re gonna throw a little sex at ’em.”
Senior Moments Dance Team performs at the “Who Let the Dogs Out” benefit for Pro-Bone-O noon to 6 pm Sunday, Aug. 10, at 3365 E. Amazon, and the Courageous Kids benefit 4:30 to 7:30 pm Saturday, Aug. 16, at the Campbell Center. For more information on joining the Senior Moments Dance Team, visit lovewithmotion.com or call Mike Morrison at 485-1823.