The Grand Strand Senior Center has its own chorus line, a group of high-stepping women who love to dance and spread joy to their audiences.
The Rock ‘N’ Ettes, a precision dancing team, perform about 50 shows annually at venues from Georgetown to Shallotte, N.C., and annually dances at an expo in Florence.
Their motto is, “We’re not getting older, only better!”
They take their show to expos, luncheons, special events, nursing and assisted living facilities, churches, schools and other places where they are invited to perform.
“I love bringing some joy to others,” said Nancy Sook of North Myrtle Beach.
Sook led the group for two years before her term recently ended and Susan Uhls of Surfside took the lead.
“I’m 70, so this is a way for me to keep on dancing,” Sook said. “I love going to the nursing homes and seeing the faces. They love our music. We always wear the sparkly costumes, so they love to see our costumes.”
In addition to Sook and Uhls, there are presently five other dancers in the group. They are Doris Eddy of Longs, Darleen Small of North Myrtle Beach, Dana Lichty of Surfside Beach, Sherry Halthoff of Conway and Beverly Edelen of Myrtle Beach.
All of them had some kind of dancing experience before becoming Rock ‘N’ Ettes.
Eddy is the choreographer. In the 1950s, she danced with the famous Rockettes, who have performed at New York’s Radio City Music Hall for decades.
“We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t enjoy doing it,” Eddy said. “I love it. I’ve been dancing now for 73 years and I don’t intend to quit until they put me in the ground.”
Since costumes are so expensive, The Rock ‘N’ Ettes try to purchase them at flea markets, from sites on the Internet, at used costumes sales and other places where they can find them at reduced prices.
Edelen comes up with ideas and puts the finishing touches on the costumes.
“She helps us put together a lot of it,” Uhls said. “She’s very creative. She likes the bling and the glitter.”
The Rock ‘N’ Ettes formed in 2001 as the Rocking Chair Ettes with about 22 dancers. The name was soon changed, and over the years, so have the dancers.
They welcome new members. Uhls said they have three women who are trying out now. Rock ‘N’ Ette hopefuls are taught two dance routines before trying out for members, who then vote on whether to accept them or not.
Over the years, Rock ‘N’ Ettes have left the team for various reasons, including physical problems.
“When you get to our age, anything can go wrong,” Uhls said.
The team recently lost a member for a different reason. At 85, she has a “bucket list,” so she quit dancing with the Rock ‘N’ Ettes and is in the process of completing that list, Eddy said.
When the women are not dancing with the team, they are often out line dancing, ballroom dancing, shagging or doing other kinds of dancing.
Their love of dancing sometimes keeps them dancing even when they have physical problems. Sook is a shagger and spends a lot of time shagging in North Myrtle Beach. She said she needs to get a knee replacement, but she’s not doing that yet.
“I plan to dance for as long as I can,” she said.
For more information about the Rock ‘N’ Ettes, call Uhls at 222-3016.