Bzzzzzz! Introducing the 'Used to Bees'

Three local ladies and a gentleman go 'pro' with the New Orleans Hornets senior dance team

Heather R. Breaux
January 30, 2008 at 11:34 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

USED TO BEES. Three local ladies and one brave man help make up  the New Orleans Hornets first senior dance team.
Photo provided by the New Orleans Hornets
USED TO BEES. Three local ladies and one brave man help make up the New Orleans Hornets first senior dance team.
When New Orleans Hornets owner George Shinn said he wanted to create a senior dance squad to perform at home games, the team’s dance choreographer Ashley Deaton took Shinn’s idea and ran with it.

"Several other teams in the NBA have been successful in establishing senior dance teams,” said Deaton. “And this is the first season for the Hornets to have the Used to Bees in their entertainment arsenal.”Deaton says that auditions were held last October and the group made their debut on Dec. 5, 2007 with the help of four St. Charles Parish residents who love to dance and get the audience pumped up.

So, just who represents our parish’s sector of the Used to Bees?

It’s none other than Lupe Sweeny, 72, of Des Allemands, Sharon Endres, 63, of Luling, Judy Goutierrez, 61, of Montz and Ron Churchill, 56, of Luling.And all four say that performing center court in front of thousands of fans is by far the most exciting part of being a Used to Bee.

“The best part about performing in front of a large crowd is their reaction,” said Churchill.

“It is very cool when they go wild.”

Deaton confirms that notion and says that the group has quickly become a crowd favorite.

“The tongue and cheek name tricks fans into expecting a pitiful performance, when in actuality what they receive is far more modern and energetic than they could have ever imagined,” said Deaton.

Churchill, who is the only man on the team, admits that he’s a little out numbered, but says that hanging out with the ladies is a lot of fun.

“They affectionately call me the ‘Bee Keeper’,” said Churchill.

Sweeny and Endres, who are both members of the parish’s Dancing Grannies senior group, have never had any formal dance training, but say that it’s all in good fun.

“Sometimes there’s a part of the routine that I think I won’t be able to do, but when I finally get the timing right and do it, it’s so rewarding,” said Endres.

Goutierrez, who has an extensive background in line dancing and teaching dance, says that her biggest obstacle thus far in her career was getting over stage fright.

“When I first started competing as a dancer several years back, I was terrified to be in front of a large crowd,” said Goutierrez.

“But I’ve learned to just go out there, have fun and be myself, and that’s exactly what I do when I perform at a Hornets’ game.”

The squad practices every Saturday morning with an additional dress rehearsal before performances.

So, what does it take to be a part of the Used to Bees?

“The only requirements for team member are they must be over 50 years of age and have enough energy and personality to give any 20-year-old a run for their money,” said Deaton.

You can catch the Used to Bees live in action in their next performance at the New Orleans Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 30 when the Hornets take on the Golden State Warriors.

Judy Goutierrez
Ron Churchill
Lupe Sweeny
Sharon Endres

View other articles written Heather R. Breaux

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