Fun and fabulous, women’s dance troupe sizzles in Southwest Florida
They first performed at basketball games. And when that gig ended, we came to know them as HOT FLASHZ, a show troupe whose members are comfortably into middle age. These women had danced during halftime at Florida Flame games, the basketball team that was in Fort Myers. Once the Flame disbanded in 2006, those performers who couldn’t imagine a life without dancing formed the HOT FLASHZ. Its members have since entertained us at fundraisers, festivals and private parties, with proceeds from those events benefiting charities.
The women with HOT FLASHZ, ages 45 and up, practice twice weekly, using rock 'n' roll, country, jazz, Latin, Broadway and Americana music, depending on the venue. The 16 members dress the role in sequined Santa outfits, zombie rags, lime green tank-tops and bright blue shorts, dazzling the audience with pompons at Fishermen’s Village in Punta Gorda at the Key Lime Festival, for example.
And, boy, are they crowd-pleasers! “I saw them [at FleaMasters in Fort Myers] a few years back. They sure livened it up,” says Dan Browne, a Southwest Floridian who also watched the women perform at another event, each woman in bright orange tank-tops, white skirts and boots decorated in neon green lacing. “They always add a lot of fun and you can tell they love being up there,” he adds.
Marjean Sage collided with her destiny scanning a newspaper. The retired interior designer was glancing at articles when she saw tryout announcements for a women’s dance troupe. It was for the Florida Flame, she says, in 2006. She made the squad, transitioned to the HOT FLASHZ, still with them as president. The Orlando Magic professional basketball team sent its cheerleaders to Fort Myers to share dance moves with the Flame women, Sage says. “And we still use the routines,” she says, adding that four Flame performers remain with HOT FLASHZ. “It has been an interesting ride for some time now.”
HOT FLASHZ performances are generally 45 minutes, mostly themed to the event. The women, for instance, performed a
YOU NEVER GIVE UP WITH DANCE.” —JOHANNA MEYERS, HOT FLASHZ PERFORMER
Memorial Day weekend patriotic show at the Southwest Florida Military Museum & Library in Cape Coral, another at the Key Lime Festival in Punta Gorda, and yet another at an Easter event in April.
Proceeds from sponsorships and donations for this nonprofit troupe go to charities such as Camp Boggy Creek, a year-round camp for children with various chronic and life-threatening illnesses. The camp was founded by the late Paul Newman. Another charity they support is the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. The foundation provides full scholarship grants, along with educational and family counseling, to the children of special operations personnel who die in operational or training missions. The foundation also provides immediate financial assistance to severely wounded special operations personnel and their families.
Debra Adler has been dancing with the troupe for just over a year. “It is an honor to be a part of the HOT FLASHZ entertainment troupe, where every dancer in our group dedicates time and resources to our causes, including purchasing their own costumes,” says Adler, who adds that the troupe is made up of “great ladies, all dedicated to helping children.”
Johanna Meyers is another troupe member who has been with the group since 2005. She is the treasurer, dance captain and is on the troupe’s social committee. Meyers also agrees that, as a member of the troupe, “We like helping the kids.”
Since the troupe practices two times a week and entertains regularly, they form a tight-knight bond and develop close friendships. “We bring out the best in one another,” adds Meyers, who looks forward to both the practices and the performances.
Furthermore, Meyers enjoys the fact that in addition to dancing being a terrific form of exercise, it also builds confidence and helps develop tenacity. “You never give up with dance,” she says.
PROCEEDS FROM THIS NONPROFIT TROUPE'S WORK GO TO CHARITIES SUCH AS CAMP BOGGY CREEK.
Freelance writer Ann Marie O’Phelan is a regular contributor to TOTI Media.
The women entertained us at basketball games, became the HOT FLASHZ in 2006.
The troupe practices twice weekly and entertains regularly throughout Southwest Florida. They spend hours assembling special outfits for every occasion.