The Pacemakers prove dance has no age barriers

A group of older people formed a dance team to entertain at community centers and ballparks, and they call themselves the Pacemakers.

Now, they're inviting men and women over the age of 60 to join them.

When the COVID pandemic hit, the Pacemakers didn't miss a beat. They simply moved their weekend rehearsals to Zoom and kept on dancing.

Their success is all the more remarkable because it was born out of adversity.

"We wear our ages, our year of our birth, on our jerseys for a reason," founder Susan Avery said. "So there's no shying away from how old we are. We shout it out from the rooftops."

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Avery started the group after facing criticism as the oldest dancer for the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2017.

"I was being cyber bullied," she said. "People didn't want me on the team said some really awful things."

The snarky comments online centered on her age.

"My daughter said to me, 'Why don't you start your own team?'" she said.

So she did just that, and the Pacemakers were born

Avery, who's now 60, recruited a former dancer with the New York Knicks, Heather Van Arsdel, to stage the Pacemaker's routines.

"There are some unique challenges with working with a senior team," Van Arsdel said. "But you work around that because they have a lot of spirit."

Dance Captain Barbara Adler said the group changed her life.

"I feel a part of something larger than myself," she said. "It gives me a reason to get up and move, and get up and feel joy and motivated."

Now, the leaders are looking to expand their group with other seniors like themselves.

"They don't have to have dance experience," Avery said.

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What they do need is a passion to perform, and it's a commitment to be on the Pacemakers.

They rehearse every weekend, and having a good work ethic is key.

"We've grown to be an amazing family," Adler said. "And we've developed such a strong bond between us that we want to welcome in somebody who's looking for the same community."

To join the group, you must be over 60 and be willing to audition Saturday, January 22, via Zoom. Van Ardel will give you a simple routine and guide you through your try out. CLICK HERE for more information.

There's an old saying that you should "never get so old you forget to grow young," and the Pacemakers prove the wisdom of following that advice.

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