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Residents bring dance moves to the court

The NCAA tournament might be known as the Big Dance, but residents of several senior living communities offered a few dance numbers of their own at basketball games during the regular season. 

In the months leading up to March Madness, residents at The Pillars of Prospect Park in Minneapolis, Green Hills Retirement Community in Ames, IA, and Atlantic Shores in Virginia Beach, VA, put on their dancing shoes and gave some lucky basketball fans toe-tapping halftime shows. 

“It’s really become a highlight. This year, it was featured at a really important game, there was insane attendance and the residents just ate it up,” said Michelle Riedel, residential design and services integrator for Oppidan, a developer for The Pillars. “It became a highlight for them which is what we love to see. You’re helping make those memories for the residents and the staff there.”

The residents at Pillars’ “Goldy’s Senior Squad” had the chance to perform during a University of Minnesota women’s basketball game thanks to a partnership with the University of Minnesota Alumni Association. The stakes could not be higher, with Division I’s all-time leading scorer and two-time National Player of the Year Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes making the trek to a sold-out Williams Arena. This was the residents’ third overall performance at the arena with the University of Minnesota’s dance team, and it is safe to say that they left a lasting impression.

“Before they even did this performance, there were people who were like, ‘I remember you from the Senior Squad!’ now that it’s the third time. [They were] looking forward to them, and that was super cool,” Riedel said. “The crowd went nuts, and it was so loud, and you got to see their smiles. It brought tears to my eyes because it was so loud, and I’ve been at some of the past performances, which were great, but this was just next level.”

Meanwhile, Green Hills took the floor at Hilton Coliseum on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames for an Iowa State men’s basketball game and performed a dance set to “Juicy Wiggle” by Redfoo, an ISU tradition for football and basketball games.

“I thought it was only going to be for about maybe, at most, 10 people,” said Bagley, who serves as a line dance instructor for the community, “But by the time word got around, it was up to almost 30, comprised mainly of not only residents but also staff and employees of Atlantic Shores, so it was a community effort.”  

Much like their compatriots at Pillars of Prospect Park, members of the dance team found a plethora of new fans thanks to their talent and charisma. The college basketball season may be over, but these spunky seniors will keep dancing after the buzzer sounds. 

“The Atlantic Shores bus was getting yelled at by people at stop lights on the way out of Norfolk,” said Cameron Gwaltney, director of sales and marketing for Atlantic Shores. “They’d pull up, roll down their windows and yell, ‘You guys are awesome!’ How cool was that for our residents? I’ve got a couple pictures on my phone that make you say, ‘That’s what joy looks like.’”

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