By Joe Earle
Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” boomed from a little portable stereo by the mirror-covered wall. Ten women started shaking pompons and moving to the music. Then someone lost her grip on one of the red shakers. It flew down the line of dancers and bounced onto the floor.
“If that happens, you just keep going,” choreographer Karen Shmerling of Sandy Springs said, her voice rising above the clamor. “Do not trip on that pompon!”
No one did. The women, all older than 50, continued moving to the music, waving pompons in order to stir up an imaginary crowd. After all, their first public appearance as a cheerleading dance team was scheduled for an Atlanta Dream game in just a few days, on July 25. This practice July 21 in the dance studio at Second Ponce de Leon Baptist’s gym might be the Dream Supreme’s best chance to get things right.
“It’s not easy,” Marcia Jaffe had said before practice began that night. “We thought it would be easy.”
Jaffe, vice president of the Buckhead Business Association, pulled the Dream Supreme together. She heard Kathy Betty, owner of the Atlanta Dream women’s professional basketball team, speak to the association and was inspired. Jaffe, who’s 61, had an idea: Why not a group of senior women as cheerleaders?
She started calling friends, who in turn called their friends. Soon they had a dozen women signed up. They ranged in age from their 50s to 71. The average age, Jaffe said, is 63.
Marianne Broadbear of Sandy Springs, the oldest member of the group, said she joined the cheerleading squad because “I love the Dream team.” Besides, she had been a dancer when she was younger and joining the cheerleading dance team offered “a very good way to stay fit.”
Fellow dancer Diane DeVille of Sandy Springs said she joined the Dream Supreme because she wanted to show support for women’s achievements. “I believe in anything and everything to support role models for young women,” she said.
And Bobi Dimond said that when first she received the e-mailed invitation from Jaffe, she thought it was a joke.
Turns out, it wasn’t. “Marcia said, ‘We need a redhead,’” Dimond said. “This was my 66th birthday present.”