Pom squad has a ball at Janesville Senior Center

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Shelly Birkelo
Wednesday, April 30, 2014

JANESVILLE—Moving to the beat of the music of “Crocodile Rock,” the women performed a kick line, formations, marching steps and other moves as part of their pom squad routine.

"From the beginning! And we walk--one, two, three, four, five, six, seven and eight," volunteer instructor Sarah Baior shouted from center stage over the blaring music.

"Step and step. Shake and shake. Up and down. Turn around. Now, big ice cream scoop,'' she said while demonstrating moves.

The 11 women 50 and older were participating in pom squad at the Janesville Senior Center, 69 S. Water St.

Janet McLean, senior center supervisor, learned about pom squad last year and decided to bring it to the local senior center.

“The seniors wanted to do this,” she said.

McLean contacted Baior, dance director of First Position Dance Studio, Janesville.

“I thought it would be fun,” Baior said.

Pom squad members said it's been a blast.

"I love it. It's fun and an amazing workout," said Betty Rinehart, 68, Edgerton.

She provided the pompons for the squad she borrowed from the Rock Aqua Jays water ski show club, of which she is an honorary member.

Rinehart never was in poms in high school, but she's a regular line dancer at the downtown senior center. She said the new pom squad is more than she expected.

"I enjoy the exercise and laughs we have. Nobody is perfect. It's just a fun, fun thing to do," she said.

Jeannette Schultz, 74, Beloit, agreed and proved anyone of any age can join the squad.

She kept pace with all the other squad members and made it very clear--verbally and physically--she chooses to be active.

"I'm a line dancer, and this is good exercise," Schultz said as she received her pompons before the hour-long session.

With a background in ballet, jazz, hip-hop, tap, modern dance and master classes, Baior said she teaches the senior women as she would younger students.

The only difference is that some of the ladies have knee or shoulder issues. That means bouncing, getting down on knees and doing the splits or cartwheels are shunned to avoid injury, she said.

“Other than that, I teach them the same as many of my kids,” Baior said.

So far, the women have learned two pom routines. They spent one day a week for a month learning each.

“It's not crazy choreography that would take forever to learn. I keep the steps real simple so anybody can join at any time,” Baior said.

“If somebody new comes in, I could break the routine down and the new person would be able to jump right in after three weeks,” she said.

Baior typically adds a few new moves to the choreography each week.

"We're kind of hitting the end of this routine and have got the choreography down," she said.

"So we will start a new routine next week."

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