Real Life

The Kiwi senior citizens teaching the world to dance

The Kiwi dance academy specifically for seniors has gone global – meaning older people from around the world can now experience the joy of street dance for themselves.
Hip Op-eration crew

Hip Op-eration crew

Hip Op-eration, a Kiwi dance crew of senior citizens aged 71 to 96, was founded by Billie Jordan in 2012.

In a bid to fight the ‘fear of death’ she saw in herself and her senior neighbours, Billie wanted to do something positive for her and her community on Waiheke Island.

And after a successful few months training up her willing recruits, Billie managed to get 27 seniors to the World Hip Hop Championships in Las Vegas – no mean feat when many of the dancers involved suffer health or mobility issues.

A documentary about Hip Op-eration was made to capture the group’s journey to the Las Vegas show, and is now considered one of the most successful docs in New Zealand history – screening around the world.

Loading the player...

As a result, Billie has rolled out online training to people across the globe, who can become Certified Hip-Operation instructors. Once they have the certification, they can teach dance to people in their local community, and even put themselves forward to compete in the first Academy World Championships at the end of 2017.

Billie won the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year in 2015 as a Local Hero, and also gave a TED talk about her experiences as head of Hip Op-eration. Watch the talk here.

The trailer for the documentary will play above.

Related stories

Get your favourite magazines home delivered!  

Subscribe and save up to 38% on a magazine subscription.