Inside the Sporting Club studio on the Main Line in Haverford, the dancers – in their hip-hop leggings, tank tops and sneakers – stand in front of a wall of mirrors. When Paula Abdul’s “Knocked Out” comes out of the speakers, they waste no time squirming, sliding and twisting their bodies like vixenish vampires on the prowl. The music ends and they rotate to a stop.
Moments later, with barely a sip of water, they start again, then again, for two hours: feigning hips, swinging arms and performing dizzying kicks, true physical achievements for any seasoned dancer. But maybe more of a feat for this jazz ensemble called “10 Women” – considering their ages range from 38 to 64.
This group of mothers and grandmothers – with eclectic backgrounds in science, education, law, art and medicine – will convince you that dancing keeps bodies and minds flexible, flexible and agile. Their enthusiasm is contagious.
More so, these dancers emphasize and rave about the connectivity and camaraderie they have developed, which goes beyond the studio’s wooden dance floor and into their daily lives.
Choreographer Shimon Braun, a soft-spoken man who as a child escaped the Nazis by fleeing his native Poland, says 10 women challenges the idea that dancers are finished at 30.
A few years ago, Braun, a former Israeli gymnastics champion and international dance master, hosted a dance workshop that met on Saturdays. When the dancers became more and more eager to learn and perform choreographed pieces, Braun added the Sunday session, focusing on the intricate footwork and linework.
Satisfied with their ambition and progress, he encouraged them to do their first show in 2014. On Sunday, April 24, at 3 p.m., 10 Women will hold their third annual dance production at the Performance Garage, 1515 Brandywine Street, in the Fairmount neighborhood.
“IT’S GREAT TO BE NOURISHED”
When it is pointed out that his students say he is a perfectionist, Braun just smiles.
“I love this group. They are unpretentious, but committed, ”he said. “If we’re wrong, they help. They support each other a lot. “
Janet Rosen, 59, a pathologist from Wynnewood, says it was funny to see a “group of middle-aged Jewish mothers learning to do hip-hop.”
“I love this group. They are unpretentious, but committed. If we are wrong, they help. They are very supportive of each other. “- Shimon Braun, choreographer of” 10 Women ”
Growing up, Rosen wanted to either be a member of the Rockettes or a professional skater like Peggy Fleming.
“As you can see, that didn’t happen,” she said wryly. But after her two children moved out, she started dancing and skating again.
Last month, her mother passed away from a long illness.
“The support I received from these amazing women was amazing… especially the hugs and the shoulders to cry on,” she said.
Deborah Narcise, 60, of Broomall is immersed in caring for the elderly. She helps her father and mother, who are 90 and 86 years old respectively.
Narcise began studying ballet at the age of 10 and performed with the Pennsylvania Ballet in the 1960s. She has also danced with the Silver Sizzles Revue, a 50-plus dance ensemble that performs throughout the country.
At first, she wasn’t sure whether she wanted to continue dancing because of the lingering rheumatoid arthritis in her knee. “But I’m glad I did,” she said. “Caring for my parents can be stressful. It’s great to be nurtured by these amazing women.
Jessie Fox / For PhillyVoice
“WE KEEP OUR HUMOR”
Debra Fox, 55, of Wynnewood, director of Transitions Adoption Agency in Haverford, started taking dance lessons when she was 11. She recognizes how nice it is to have a place to relax on the weekends. Her favorite dance routines are those focused on classical jazz.
Fox said that when she needed help finding suitable services in her community for her son, who is now 18, two of the women familiar with the field immediately stepped in. “If something is bothering me, I leave my problems at the door. I always feel better after working in class.
Jeannette Newman, 56, an early childhood educator, living in Haverford, took undergraduate jazz and ballet lessons at New York University. She likes dancing to keep her fit and skinny. “We support all the positive aspects of our lives, as well as all the challenges that we go through. And then we laugh.
Sometimes the unexpected has happened, what Diane Cohen, 64, of Merion calls these “Lucy and Ethel” moments.
“My partner and I missed our signal to go on stage at a show,” she recalls. “But it worked. Nobody knew it except a few members of our family.
An avid runner, Cohen has completed 18 marathons. She admits that some of the dance routines can be a challenge, and she trains a lot in her spare time.
“I’m the one they help the most,” she laughs. “We keep our humor. We are our own system of mutual support in therapy.