On the 22 of February 2011, the New Zealand city of Christchurch was hit by a devastating earthquake. It was 12:51 on a Tuesday afternoon, the city was a bustle as people were on their lunch breaks from work or in their offices and jobs all over the metropolitan area. The quake measured 6.3 on the “Richter Scale” causing wide spread damage and taking the lives of 183 people. This was to become the nation’s fifth deadliest disaster on record. The previous year the city had been struck by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake leaving the central city and the eastern suburbs buildings and infrastructure already weakened. Even though the 2011 quake only lasted 10-seconds, the damage was so significant that the city would never be the same again.
Of the 185 people that perished in the tragedy, 115 of them were in the same building. The “Canterbury Television Building” (CTV) collapsed and caught fire trapping all inside, another 18 died in the collapse of the PGC House, and yet another 8 died while traveling on a bus that was struck by falling debris. 6500 people were treated for injuries sustained during the quake, with the last survivor being rescues a full day after the earthquake stuck the city.
One of those injured in this tragedy was a woman by the name of Billie Jordan. After recovering from her injuries she started to realize just how precious the gift of life is, and how we can sometimes take this for granted. Billie decided that she needed a life change, she packed her bags and headed to “Waiheke Island” off the coast of New Zealand’s north island. Billie became involved with a senior citizens home there and found that the residence felt the same way she did, that they were wasting away their lives doing nothing, so she founded the “Hip Hop Operation” dance group in 2012.
With no formal dance training, but huge attitude and determination she set herself and her group a goal. Billie said “I thought I would start a dance group, I’m not a dancer at all, I’ve got no idea of how to dance. Anyway, I noticed that they loved it!” the goal she set was simple, in 8-months-time we are going to perform in the “World Hip Hop Championships”. This was a very ambitions statement, as the average age of the group was over 80-years-young.
The 22 members of the troupe put in the hours of rehearsals that were required to achieve their dream, and true to her word, Billie had the “Hip Hop Operation” performing at the championships. These dedicated-die-hards may not have won, but they did make it into the “Guinness Book of Records” as the “World’s Oldest Dance Team”. An achievement that they are all so proud of.