Whoever said that dancing is for the young must not have met these senior citizens from Akita Prefecture. A group of elderly women who call themselves Sannai Utaou Odorou-kai (“Sannai group of let’s sing and dance”) are celebrating their 30th anniversary, and what better way to do it than to dance to one of the most famous pop dance tunes of this century? The women knew they had to do something special for their anniversary and so they decided to take on the late Michael Jackson‘s “Thriller.”
The group was founded in 1980 in the Sannai district in Yokote. They performed song numbers, comedy sketches and even played the wadaiko, or traditional Japanese drums in local events. 70-year-old Hiroko Takahashi was the one who came up with the idea of dancing to the hit song, and the members of the group, whose age averages at 81, went all out with this production. Wearing Jackson’s trademark white gloves, the women tried as much as possible to imitate the original dance moves, complete with hats and ties. “I wanted to perform it for young people to show off that we were still active,” said Takahashi, who believes it’s still too early for them to call it a day and just act like “old folks.”
When people started hearing about their Thriller dance, they got invitations to perform that particular dance number in different events all over the prefecture. They also got their 15 minutes of fame when they were invited to perform on a TV variety show. But for the group, fame and fortune isn’t their goal. All they want to do is get together with people their age, be physically active so they stay healthy and help other senior citizens become more confident. Their motto is, “Stay healthy and smile all the time,” and even people watching them will not be able to help but smile as well.
[ via Asahi Shimbun ]