After surviving an abusive childhood and repeated trauma in the deadly Christchurch Earthquake in 2011, Billie Jordan used these experiences as a catalyst for bringing a sense of purpose and joy to the lives of the senior citizens in her community on Waiheke Island – a small island off the East Coast of New Zealand. Billie established The Hip Op-eration Crew; a hip hop dance group consisting of 27 members aged 74 to 95 years old. As their leader, and with high expectations of her team, she ignited the potential of her dancers by giving them the audacious goal of being good enough, in just eight months time, to perform at the World Hip Hop Championships in Las Vegas. With no background in dance, hip hop or working with the elderly; and with a team of dancers whose average age was 80 (with many members who were blind, deaf, disabled or had dementia), she had her work cut out for her. In her presentation Billie discusses her personal story, her belief in older adults reaching their full potential, the obstacles her group faced, and the tight relationship they formed with the only group of people who supported them on their journey – a group of young street dancers from Otara (the Bronx of New Zealand). Billie’s story is heart-warming, unique and shows, with the right attitude, anything is possible at any age! Billie was awarded a Queens Honour in 2016, was New Zealand Woman of the Year in 2016/2017 and won the New Zealander of the Year award in the Local Hero category in 2015. She has spoken at prestigious events around the globe including Scotland, Canada and Australia and has delivered a Ted Talk to critical acclaim. She is the star of an award winning feature documentary film Hip Hop-eration, which has screened in cinemas all over the world, and now Hollywood plan on making her story into a block buster movie.
Day , 3:00pm – 3:30pm – Igniting Potential for Better Ageing