A Women's Over-40 Dance Troupe Rocks the WNBA

Ole Skool Crew lives up to its name every time they take center court at Los Angeles Sparks home games

by Gina McGalliard • Next Avenue
Next Avenue Dance Troupe Image
Ole Skool Crew Supreme Dance Team
Photograph: Courtesy of Traci Hawkins

The last thing you expect to see at a basketball halftime show are middle-aged women at center court shaking their tail feathers. But that's exactly what fans of the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks are cheering at every home game at the Staples Center. Ole Skool Crew is a dance troupe featuring 12 women of different sizes, shapes and ethnicity —  all past the age of 40. "From jamming with James Brown or bustin’ a move with MC Hammer," says the Sparks' website, "these hot ladies bring an energetic, sassy, confident and entertaining super show for the Sparks fans.”

The crew is directed by Traci Hawkins, 50, a former Soul Train dancer whose passion has kept Ole Skool going strong for the last nine years.

Gina McGalliard recently talked to Hawkins about her vision and how the dancers inspire women of all ages. (To see Hawkins and the Ole Skool Crew performing to James Brown's "Get Up Offa That Thing" click here.)

What kind of music do you dance to?

You have to be old school and know old school moves, old school music: the Temptations, the Spinners, Rick James — all the cool people that we loved. We’re able to take people down memory lane.

How did Ole Skool Crew begin?

The original owners decided back in 2004 that they would like to do a new entertainment type of idea, just to try it on for size: a mature dance team. (MORE: Do You Wanna Dance? Don't Wait to Be Asked)

What were the requirements to get hired?

It didn’t matter if you were tall, short, skinny, fat — everybody was welcome as long as you were able to energize a crowd. You had to be fabulous and over 40, and you had to know all of the old school moves from the '70s and '80s — back in the Soul Train days — like the Electric Slide, the Cabbage Patch, the Running Man.

Click here to read the rest of the interview on Next Avenue.

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