Local Hero of the Year Semi-Finalist 2015, Billie Jordan
3 Aug 2016
Billie Jordan Kiwibank Local Hero of the Year semi-finalist 2015
After narrowly surviving New Zealand’s deadliest earthquake in Christchurch in 2011, Billie Jordan felt there was more to life than working as a communications consultant for large corporations. So she quit her job and moved to a small island off the East Coast of Auckland in New Zealand.
Once there she taught herself how to dance following hip hop clips on YouTube, then gathered up her elderly neighbours and established them as a hip hop dance crew with the audacious goal of performing at the World Hip Hop Championships in Las Vegas within eight months. From that point on her life and the lives of her dance group changed forever.
The tale of the Kiwi woman who founded the oldest hip-hoppers dance group in the world has been bought by a Hollywood producer.
Founder and manager of the Hip Op-eration crew, Billie Jordan, 46, said the rights to her life-story had been sold to a top film production company.
Her crew, of seven members aged 71 - 96, based on Waiheke Island, held the Guinness World Record for the oldest dance group.
Jordan couldn't divulge which production company had bought the rights, but said the making of the movie would begin as early as next year.
"I get to attend the USA film premiere, which will be exciting and I'm sure I'll be having many surreal 'pinch me', moments over the next few years."
She said several companies had approached her late last year, and earlier this year after seeing her speak at a Ted Talk.
"They felt I had a life story which could make a great film.
"The film production company I ended up choosing is one of the top film production companies in the world.
"The producers have some strong Kiwi connections; so I knew they'd get me and get the essence of what it means to be a New Zealander and how we see the world."
She said as a survivor of childhood abuse and the Christchurch earthquakes - there'll be more to her story than hip-hop.
"It's good that most people only know me for my work with the Hip Op-eration Crew, because it means I still have about 80% of my life story left to share."
Below Billie shares her thoughts on being named Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year semi-finalist in 2015:
"Receiving recognition for the voluntary work I do was a huge boost to me personally and fueled me on to do more. When you're facing obstacles and are short on funds and resources, it's nice to know that what you do is appreciated and valued by the wider community. My New Zealander of the Year Award takes pride of place in my house and inspires me to keep going, knowing what I do matters to others."
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