Senior dance group shoots for the stars
by Staff Writer
When the championship winning Lucky Stars Older Adult Line Dance Performance Team takes the stage, they not only cut a rug, they tear it to shreds.
The team trains at the North Mecklenburg Senior Center in Cornelius and the South Iredell Senior Center in Mooresville. The Lucky Stars consist of eight young-at-heart ladies from 63 to 80 years old who have banded together to not only get some exercise, but have a blast doing it.
According to Lucky Stars member Joanne Ahern, the team can trace its roots back to 2003 when she was teaching line-dancing classes at the Lake Norman YMCA and the South Iredell Senior Center.
“We did our first performance at a YMCA picnic,” Ahern said. “After that we decided to formalize the team.”
Once the Lucky Stars were officially launched, Ahern began looking for places to perform.
“I heard about the North Carolina State Senior Games,” she said. “I thought, why not give it a try?”
To make it to their first state Senior Games, the Lucky Stars had to beat outlocal competition.
“We started with the Iredell Senior Games in April 2004,” Ahern said. “We won Best of Show, and that qualified us to go to the state games.”
In October 2004, the Lucky Stars officially entered their first North Carolina State Senior Games and came away with a gold medal.
“It was pretty amazing,” Ahern said.
Lucky Stars team member Barbara Herring of Sherrills, Ford still recalls the feeling she had winning that first gold medal.
“We had only been together as a team for eight months,” Herring said. “I was jumping for joy.”
To qualify for the 2011 North Carolina State Senior Games, the Lucky Stars again took Best of Show at the South Iredell County Senior Games held last April. Proving that first state gold medal was no fluke, the team went on to win the top award for the second time at the recent North Carolina State Senior Games in Raleigh on Sept. 30.
Lucky Stars team member Jo Archie, who recently turned 80 years old, described her emotions after winning the second gold medal as ecstatic.
“I just love line dancing, and getting the second medal was icing on the cake,” she said.
The Lucky Stars make quite a splash on stage in their red and white outfits with red sequined cowgirl hats.
“We usually dance to country and western music,” Ahern said. “In September we danced to ‘I’m From the Country’ by Tracy Byrd.”
Winning medals is all well and good, but the Lucky Stars also realize other benefits from their practice and performances.
“Our mission is to bring entertainment and exercise opportunities to older adults across the region,” Ahern said.
Even at 80 years of age, Archie is all about the Lucky Stars and line dancing rolling back the clock.
“Age is just a number,” she said. “You are never too old to remain active.”
There’s also the camaraderie of being a Lucky Stars line dancer.
“We enjoy being together,” Herring said. “We have a great time.”
The positive vibes that the Lucky Stars generate are contagious, a trait that North Mecklenburg Senior Center staff member Wendy Klemm sees all the time.
“They do a lot to make everyone feel younger,” she said. “They are an inspiration to everyone at the Senior Center.”
In addition to taking part in line dancing competitions, the Lucky Stars are available to perform for groups and gatherings of all types. To arrange a show, contact Joanne Ahern at 704-892-4041.