“People thought we were quite an oddity when we started out because we were about 70 to 80 years older than all the other hip hop dancers around the world. But hip hop has become our life now. My homies and I are a really tight crew and hope we can keep dancing until we die; which isn’t far off for some of us,” says dance crew member Brenda Long (aka BB Rizzell) aged 80.
The Hip Op-eration Crew members include four people who use mobility aids, five members in their 90s, many people who are deaf, and one member who is legally blind. The average age is 80 and there are five men and 18 women in the Crew.
The Hip Op-eration Crew aims to reduce the stigma of aging through entertainment. A ‘behind the scenes’ feature documentary film about The Hip Op-eration Crew will be released in cinemas across New Zealand later in the year before having an international cinematic release.
The Hip Op-eration Crew have featured on BBC World, the front page of the Wall Street Journal, Australia’s premiere Sunday Night programme, Fox News, NZ’s Got Talent and other television networks, radio stations, magazines and newspapers all over the world.
Each member of the crew (called a homie within the crew) has a hip hop name such as Quick Silver (95), Kara Bang Bang (94), Shake it up Sheila (81), Dollar 91(91), Terri 2 Cents (93), Tiny Tot (81), Snoop J (79), DD Bugz (67), BB Rizzell (80).
Guinness World Records has announced that Waiheke’s own Hip Op-eration Crew is officially the world’s oldest dance troupe. Billie Jordan, whose vision led to the formation of the crew, has just released the news.
CONGRATULATIONS! You are an inspiration to us all. Waiheke salutes you. You've put the island on the world map and done us proud.