The Sophisticated Ladies is a prestigious dance group consisting of ladies above the age of 55 who dance in local nursing homes to spread joy and positivity. It was founded by Radio City Music Hall Rockette Barbara Hamm in 1992.
The Ladies, who rehearse two times per week, were forced to stop meeting in March due to the quarantine. However, their love for dance and fellowship led them to find alternative safety measures that allowed them to continue with rehearsals.
Soon after, they began practicing outdoors, and then rehearsed at member Wynne Wroblesky’s home garage in McLendon Hills. Dancers were spaced out on “X” marks on the floor, wore masks, and at one point the women wore 6-foot PVC pipes through their belt loops to ensure that they were distanced from other members in addition to more safety measures.
“It was really funny,” Wynne said. “We stayed religiously dancing every Monday and Thursday.” In September, Sandhills Alliance Church located at 111 Trotter Drive in Pinehurst offered their Fellowship Hall at no cost to the dancers for rehearsals.
The usual 10 members had dwindled down to “The Faithful Four” during quarantine, and they continued rehearsal in hopes of having members return once comfortable.
The Sophisticated Ladies put on a Patriotic Performance in an outdoor pavilion at McLendon Hills on July 3rd for Independence Day. Social distancing was underway at the event.
“We sterilized every chair and bench outside,” Wynne said.
Angie Huber, who has been with the group for 23 years, had her husband do music for the event.
“We couldn’t find anyone else to do it,” she said. “All of our husbands get involved. It’s a family affair!”
While the Sophisticated Ladies were fortunate enough to perform outdoor shows over the summer, they hope that they can also schedule a couple of Christmas shows and resume a somewhat normal schedule for their programs in the spring.
The Ladies perform shows at no cost, but they do accept donations which help to cover expenses such as, Liability Insurance, Website Fees, costume expenses.
“We pay $30 a year in dues,” member Marilyn Dotto said. “It’s how we buy our accessories and costumes and things like that – along with donations.”
Being a no-cost performance group, they are able to perform at quite a few charity events such as at The Encore Center in Southern Pines.
“It let’s me know I’ve got some purpose even though I’m retired,” Wynne said. “You’re not just done because you’re retired; you get to work on something new.”
The group has become iconic within the Moore County community, having been around for 30 years and currently consisting of 8 members between 50 and 80 years old.
They hope to continue building their group in the future, as safety allows. Currently the Ladies practice safety by wearing gloves during performances so they don’t touch skin to skin as well as taking temperatures. They also have rearranged the choreography so that they are distanced away from one another while performing.
For those who are interested in joining the Sophisticated Ladies, all over 50 are welcome as long as you are young at heart!
“The goal is to have fun and enjoy each other’s company,” Wynne said. “You’re never too old to dance.”
Rehearsal provides a family atmosphere where all are welcome to be themselves, and breaks are encouraged as needed.
“We don’t push anybody,” Wynne said. “If you’re tired, you stop. You’re not just dancing; you’re family.”
The Ladies meet Monday and Thursday mornings 9:30am – 11:00am at Sandhills Alliance Church. Non-dancers are also welcome to join the group to support in other areas such as costume-making, treasurer, sound, etc. The Ladies always play to the strengths of their members.
To join, reach out to Angie Huber at firstname.lastname@example.org or text (910) 964-7111.
Be sure to check out the Facebook page by searching “Facebook Sophisticated Ladies Moore County” and visit their website at SophisticatedLadiesMooreCounty.com