Local dancing grannies auditioning for America's Got Talent


Tara Alatorre
CAVE CREEK – The Desert Cactus Kickers, a “dancing granny group,” will be auditioning for the NBC show and talent competition America’s Got Talent on February 24, at the Phoenix Convention Center.
The grannies will be dancing to “Uptown Funk” by artist Bruno Mars while rocking thigh-length gold sequins dresses with matching fedora hats. The routine was choreographed by dance member, Jan Snow, who will also be performing it at the audition later this month.
“It’s very exciting whether we make it or not,” said the group’s director and founder, Arlene Kamarata, while practicing at the dress rehearsal on February 14, at the Adaptive Force Performing Arts Studio.
The ladies are traditionally a tap group, but for this audition they're doing more of a funky dance/tap routine with some modern moves that exude a fun and energetic feel.  The Desert Cactus Kickers rehearsed their routine with rhythm and moves that were anything but reminiscent of your typical grandma image.  Moving together tightly in synchronicity, twirling across the floor with the grace only a seasoned dancer could exude; and confidently high kicking while wearing smiles that would make the Rockettes proud. 
The dancers in the Desert Cactus Kickers ages range from 70 to 84, and they have been choreographing and dancing together as a group for 24 years.  The group was started in 1993 in Kamarata's living room when five women showed up after seeing an advertisement in the local newspaper about starting a dancing granny group in Cave Creek. 
By 1994 the group had found a studio in Cave Creek and a dance teacher for their dance practices; the rest is history.  Some of the dancers have been members of the Desert Cactus Kickers for over 15 years, and there are still two original dancers from the group, Kamarata and Jeanette Doyle.
“I never dreamt I would be doing anything like this,” Kamarata says.  “Of course, our families are excited for us because who knows we might be on TV!”
The Desert Cactus Kickers that are auditioning for America’s Got Talent are: Arlene Kamarata, Arleen Hazen, De Hawk, Jan Snow, Susan Neubauer, Mary King, Diana Wilkinson, Mary Cary and Joyce Bridge. 
America’s Got Talent airs later this year on the NBC network, check your local television provider for times.  The Desert Cactus Kickers will not know if they advance to the next round of the competition until after all the auditions are over. The Foothills Focus wishes these ladies the best of luck!
If you are interested in joining the Desert Cactus Kickers you must be 50-years-young, and already have dance experience.  For more information visit www.desertcactuskickers.com.