SUN CITY CENTER - They are an energetic group of 16 dancers who range in age from 65 to 93. They design and make their own costumes, choreograph their own dances and routines and are not afraid of change.
Twenty-six years ago, a newly formed performance group of the Solo Line Dance Club called The Soloettes debuted at a Sun City Center pool party. In the years to follow, they fine-tuned their skills by performing for parties and dancing before audiences at local nursing homes.
In 1989 they ventured beyond the Sun City Center area and entered the Tampa Senior Games and brought home a gold medal.
Over time the Soloettes evolved from basic line dance performances into chorus line productions, renaming itself The Sunsations and incorporating the syncopated rhythms of tambourines into their routines.
"I saw "A Chorus Line" in New York City three times and I loved it," said 93-year-old Gervais Brekke, the club's newest member. "Now my ambition to be a chorus girl is realized at last. This is proof that it is never too late."
The club is open to members of the Sun City Center Community Association, Kings Point and Freedom Plaza, and there is no requirement to perform. Dues are $15 annually and include classes, which are held on Tuesday mornings at 9:30 a.m. in the Atrium Building, 1009 N. Pebble Beach Blvd. Members who do perform have a small costume fee.
Choreographer and performance coordinator JJ Roberts has helped lead the group in its ever- changing style of dance. Currently, members are working on a Charleston-style dance set to a New Orleans jazz number, "Royal Garden Blues." It will be performed for the first time at the Follies at Kings Point's Borini Theatre this fall.
"I would never have imagined myself in a position of choreographer and teacher of dance," Roberts said. "It's a thrill to see something that you dream up in your mind, come alive on the stage."
For additional information, call Roberts at (813) 642-0426.
Lorianne De Loreto is a freelance writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.