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Jane does the splits at 90

By ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia
 

Despite their age - or probably because of it - feisty seniors have just become national entertainers in the US and UK. Off with the new, on with the old!

In America, a group from Utah calling themselves Jean's Golden Girls, whose ages range from 50 to 90, have been performing country western, tap and jazz dancing all over the place.

One of their stars is 90-year-old Jane Petty, a retired schoolteacher, who performs a solo dance featuring  high-kicks and splits that would challenge a dancer a quarter of her age.

"I didn't even know that I could do the splits and never tried until three years ago," she said. "Once while performing at Utah State I had just completed my routine and the school's mascot brought out a wheelchair to escort me off the floor. I gave him a high kick, put him in the wheelchair and wheeled him off the floor."

On May 4, she did the splits for the millions of viewers of Jay Leno's national Tonight show.  It drew rapturous applause and ecstatic press reviews, particularly in her home state.

"A 90-year-old dancer from Provo strutted her stuff on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Friday night," the Salt Lake City newspaper Desert News reported. "Jane Petty ... ended her routine with splits on live TV.

" Petty blew away the competition, which included a screaming candelabra man and a guitarist who blew a tiny spit bubble after singing the tune 'Tiny Bubbles'... She completed her stint of stardom by boogying off stage left."

On the other side of the Atlantic, a rock group of senior citizens  called The Zimmers  have achieved YouTube fame for their version of The Who’s classic 1965 single My Generation.

 "The lead vocalist is a gap-toothed nonagenarian named Alf Carretta, who sings the lyrics in an endearingly halting manner, while a chorus of his contemporaries chimes in with the recurring mantra Talkin’ ’bout my generation!” wrote CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) reviewer Andre Mayer.

He said that while Carretta is the Zimmers’ front man, the most famous band member is Peter Oakley, better known as blogger Geriatric 1927   (a reference to his birth year)', whom we wrote about in our May edition.

Rock on, you Zimmers... and Jean's Golden Girls (especially Jane Petty).

 

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Story first posted June 2007

Copyright © 2007

Eric Shackle

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