Home Girl Wu Ying Crushes Retirement

posted in: Athletes | 6

wuyingA few weeks ago, I featured Ruth Flowers, who became one of Europe’s hottest nightclub DJs at age 69.

Now I’d like you to meet Chinese hip hop dancer Wu Ying, age 71. She got air time around the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but I didn’t discover her until recently.

In 2003, Wu Ying (a retired accountant) watched the first Chinese National Hip Hop Dance Competition on TV. She fell in love with the music, the energy, the fashion, and thought hip hop would make a fantastic workout. So she enrolled in classes at her local gym, and soon started recruiting other pensioners (who thought she’d lost it).

So, apparently, did her daughter:

This is just great. There are a bunch of young hooligans dancing on the streets out there, now I have an old hooligan dancing in my own household.

Wu Ying ignored her and Scoo B Doo walked away.

She eventually found four more women interested in learning the moves. They called themselves The Hip Hop Grannies and practiced hours a day. Their goal—the 2004 Chinese National Hip Hop Dance Competition.

The Grannies made their debut at the Beijing qualifier. Averaging age 60, they took on dancers decades younger and came in third!  Since then, they’ve grown to over 30 members and have performed all over China. (And Wu Ying’s daughter has become their biggest fan.)

Even more amazing, Wu Ying lived through the Cultural Revolution (when everything Western was banned).

Here’s a video of the women practicing. They look ridiculously young for their ages. (The youngest is 48 and the oldest 71!)  Makes me want to run out and buy a hip hop exercise video!



6 Responses

  1. Dave
    | Reply

    I love the fact that somewhere in the world, a 71 year old (retired accountant?!) is dancing around hip hop-style like an old hooligan. Gives me hope for us all 🙂 Good for her.

    • Elle B.

      Thanks, Dave! I AM seriously considering getting a hip hop exercise video. She makes it look like so much fun!

  2. Brian Cormack Carr
    | Reply

    I’ve just found your site and have fallen in love! I’ve had many “bloomings” in my life so far, and the latest is as a career coach and online writer, helping people find their “vital vocations”. I’m often asked if there are any age limits, and I reply with a resounding “NO!”. I then like to signpost clients & readers to good evidence of my assertion. You can be sure I’ll be sending them this way….

    • Elle B.

      Thanks, Brian! Glad you like the site. I started collecting these stories to inspire myself and realized that others might like them. I, too, have “bloomed” several times, and plan to keep doing so!

  3. Madeleine Kolb
    | Reply

    The video is terrific, especially the hip-hop routine by Wu Ying at the end. Not only is the street dancing wonderful exercise but also there’s the social aspect–a huge factor in healthy aging. It’s interesting that the responses from so many younger people seem to be negative when old people break out of the stereotypes about aging.

    I write about myths of aging on my blog and have found so many examples of people continuing to do fabulous work into their 60s and 70s and beyond. Like Mavis Staples, the legendary gospel singer, many of them want to “keep on keeping on.”

    • Elle B.

      Thanks so much, Madeleine. I completely agree with you. Our sites are very complimentary. You’ve inspired me to add a blogroll of important resources for late bloomers!

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