Interview with Peggy Wacks

Our summer intern, Gaby Mervis, interviewed Peggy Wacks, a member of Dance'n Feet, a senior women's dance group out of Newton.

GM: What is Dance'n Feet?

PW: We are an independent senior women's dance group that practices weekly in Newton Lower Falls; are available for dance performances at dance festivals, community and charitable events. We have a very limited repertoire at present so cannot do a whole show on our own, but need to be part of a performance with multiple groups.

GM: Who is in it?

PW: Twelve women; non-professional dancers and few have any dance background; most are retired but some are still employed full or part time. Most are grandmothers. Our professional backgrounds include education, law, medicine, nursing, art, administration, insurance, physical education. Many members pursue sports seriously: competitive soccer, volleyball, running, bicycling, cross country, etc.

GM: What is the age range of its members?

PW: 58-70

GM: Why are they in it?

PW: The group started as a line dancing team to compete at the annual Senior Games in MA for athletes 50 and over. The group competed there for several years, and since they always won, the event was made non-competitive (performance only). The group started competing at dance competitions and performing at dance festivals and went way beyond the line dancing format to incorporate jazz, Broadway, cheer, and acrobatic features. Most are in it for the fun and exercise - and some for the thrill of competition and performance.

GM: What does it feel like to perform and is it any different from when you were younger?

PW: It feels great to perform, like a fantasy fulfilled (big show off that I now am). I didn't perform when I was younger, so I have no basis for comparison. I think it is less intimidating now, after all, what do I have to lose - so what if I make a fool of myself (worst case scenario)?! I'm much less nervous now and totally enjoy the whole thing.

GM: Do you have any special memory that you would like to share?

PW: I remember when we did a special performance at the awards ceremony of a national competition in Atlantic City a few years ago. Also performing were a bunch of young men doing a very athletic and professional and amazing hip hop number. They looked like something on Broadway and were terrific. These young fellows (around age 20 or so) all told us how terrific we were.

GM: What is your favorite aspect about dancing and performing?

PW: Learning and perfecting something and seeing it take shape with a wonderful group of women and then "taking it on the road" and get the audience feedback and appreciation.

GM: What is your favorite dance move?

PW: In our current number, Don't cha, my favorite move is not a dance move, but a gymnastic one: the double forward role I do with the choreographer, and our gymnastics coach, Nancy Simcock.

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