Meet the World’s Oldest Hip Hop Group [Video]

The world’s oldest hip hop dance crew hails from the Waiheke Island in New Zealand, and they are gearing up to prove that age is no barrier.

The story of Hip Op-Eration Crew, the World’s Oldest Hip Hop Dance Group, will definitely made you think different about aging, senior people and just brighten the prospect of aging in addition.

The Hip Op-eration crew come from the tiny New Zealand island of Waiheke near Auckland, and consists of 37 senior citizens ranging in age from 65 to over 90. Actually, members include a 96-year-old in a wheelchair, six people who use other types of mobility aids including zimmerframes and walking sticks, ten members in their late 80s and early 90s.

The “Hip Op-eration Crew”  has already appeared on reality show “New Zealand’s Got Talent,” where they got a standing ovation during their audition.

The group’s Facebook page explains the motivation for joining the world of urban street dance stating, “they hope to build a stronger connection with young people.” They even have a motto – RHY that means “Respect and Honour Youth”.

The crew has also been officially invited to do a tribute performance at the global hip hop dance festival to be held at Orleans Hotel and Casino on Aug. 11.

Over two thousand dancers will come together to battle it out for 2013 World Hip Hop Dance Champion, with groups from over 35 countries expected to attend.

“I’m up for the challenge,” 96-year-old crew member Violet Hollis told the Wall Street Journal.”I wouldn’t miss it for anything.”

Howard Schwartz, Hip Hop International’s president, and HHI co-founder Karen Schwartz met the Hip Op-eration Crew this week. They have been following the crew’s progress for eight months and said they are “an inspiration to so many people.” Both of their 94-year old mothers will be in the front row for the performance.

The crew shared that they feel a connect with the history of hip hop. “We feel very much in tune with those people who were very poor and nobody seemed to care about,” Maynie Thompson, 94, told the Journal.

“We want to show young people that old people can do things like that, too. When you get old, you don’t have to sit at home and knit socks. You can get out onto the floor and dance.”

Manager Billie Jordan says the group returns home on Wednesday, but with an extra spring in their step.

“They’ll be doing what old people do – like go to the RSA for a drink on a Friday – and go back to their normal lives,” she says. “But I don’t know if they will be normal lives after this. We’ll have to see what happens.”

Ms. Jordan says the crew have been asked to perform at the competition finals, in front of a crowd of 9000 people. She said the stage in Las Vegas is a far cry from the small community hall on Waiheke.

“In the community hall on our little island, everything was quiet and genteel. Now they are actually in the hip hop scene they have realized they can turn the volume up on the way they dance by about 1,000 notches. They are really stomping it out,” she said.

As the Crew’s official website writes, a feature documentary film about The Hip Op-eration Crew is currently being made and follows the adventures of the Crew during the first eight months of 2013. It is expected this feature documentary film will have an international cinematic release date of early 2014.

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