Keep on Dancing

Silver Stars dance squad proves you're only as old as you move

The most anticipated aspect of retirement is selecting from a wide range of recreational options. Each morning, it's up to you to choose among cribbage, shuffleboard, bocci ball -- or busting a move at an Orlando Magic game.

That's the choice earned by the 30 members of the Silver Stars, the team's newest dance squad that, in a way, is also its oldest. In October the 55,000 residents of The Villages in Lake and Sumter counties were invited to get their groove on and attend auditions for the organization's first senior dance squad. Helping coordinate the tryouts was Jeanine Klem-Thomas, a former Magic Dancer and currently the team's manager and choreographer. Having worked with the freshman class, she was now ready to work with the seniors.

She watched dancers shake, shimmy and strut, and when she saw that none of them needed medical attention, she realized she was onto a good thing. Suddenly, Klem-Thomas recognized that dancers are like fine wine -- they only get better with age. Impressed by their enthusiasm, professionalism, drive and dancing ability, she selected 28 women and two very lucky men to perform during Orlando Magic halftime programs and other breaks.

What makes performing in front of thousands of cheering fans even more extraordinary is that when they hit the court, they're not performing to the sounds of Rudy Vallee piped in over a Victrola. On the contrary. The dancers -- who range in age from 55 to 80 -- arrive ready to rock the house with fan favorites including "Baby Got Back," the rap song "Lean Back," and Nelly's "It's Getting Hot in Here."

Visiting The Villages twice a month to teach them new dance routines, Klem-Thomas has seen that their passion and love of performing transcends their ages.

"The Silver Stars are just absolutely phenomenal!," she gushes. "Staying active is the key to feeling young and this particular group stays active through dance. The Silver Stars have really been the highlight of my year."

Having performed between November and April, the Silver Stars will remain a Magic highlight into next season when they return for encore performances; forming a conga line, dancing to the chants of "I rock - you're hot!" and creating enough magic and memories to make their grandkids green with envy.

"Their enthusiasm and energy is priceless," says Klem-Thomas. "The Silver Stars are living proof you are only as old as you feel -- and I'm quite certain most of them feel like they are still in their 20s!

"They've been such a pleasure to work with this year and they've all become my adopted family," she notes. "And I have to tell you that our fans have absolutely fallen in love with them this season -- and I have, too!"

More Silver Stars: V Magazine Feature on the Orlando Magic Silver Stars


This story originally appeared in the May issue of Magic Magazine. Get your favorite Magic fan a subscription to Magic Magazine! To subscribe call 1-877-841-7070 or e-mail subscription.service@skies.com and specify you want Magic Magazine. A one-year subscription is $18.95 and two-year is just $24.95.