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Age Or Dance -- You Just Gotta!

You know your big sis loves you when she leaves the deep South and braves the deep freeze of mid-January in the Midwest to celebrate your birthday. With a can-do, gotta-do approach to life, she’s been a role model and trailblazer throughout the decades as they march on for both of us.

And over my birthday weekend we packed in as much as possible. A highlight was Gotta Dance, a singing, dancing musical we saw on the last day of its Chicago run before it heads to Broadway. Before I say more about the show, I want to talk about how we refer to those of us now qualifying for senior discounts.

I find myself increasingly annoyed by -- or at least tired of -- the label “seniors” (but I’ll happily take that movie discount). And “older person” sounds vague, if not dull. I read that people who study aging use the phrase, “young-old,” for ages 65 to 75, and “old-old” for over 75. How about we just stick with the numbers if we really need to qualify?

So, back to Gotta Dance. Imagine this … auditions are held for people over 60 who want to dance at the half-time show of a pro basketball team. This actually did happen with the New Jersey Nets before they moved to Brooklyn. And we’re not talking jitterbug or tap or swing, but hip-hop.

The musical is exuberant but also shows personal struggles of the cast as they build up to performing in front of 20,000 screaming fans. You can catch the play in New York or watch the 2008 documentary film.

Or you can just turn up the music and dance!

I’m Paula Garrett, and that’s my perspective.

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