Time Is On Their Side

With another Liberty season on the horizon, it's not just the players and coaches that are preparing for the summer. There's plenty of behind-the-scenes action going on well before the season tip-off, including the assembly of our three co-ed cheer and dance teams. The Timeless Torches (if you'll recall, the team who scored its second consecutive Golden Maddie Award last month) are busy getting ready for their auditions on Sunday, March 29.

In anticipation of those auditions, NYLiberty.com caught up with third year Timeless Torch member Susan Avery to find out the inside scoop on her and the team during the off-season.

NYLiberty.com: Susan, what's life like for you outside of dancing for the Timeless Torches?

Susan: I am a humor columnist at Time Out New York Kids, and the executive editor of Grandparents.com, where I have to summon my serious side, which is hard to do. In the off-season, I take dance classes, where I am always the oldest one there. You’ll find me attempting awkward hip-hop moves that no one over the age of 25 should really be doing. Fortunately, they keep me at the back of the room so I don’t hurt anyone.

NYLiberty.com: So give us the skinny on the team. Starting with the ladies ...

Susan: Our coach, Heather Van Arsdel (25+) is currently coaching the Knicks City Kids, spending time with her chihuahua Pepe and running around New York state as a reporter for NBC News. In the off-season, (wait, what off-season?) she dances and choreographs year round. But when she does have spare time, she travels, going to a different foreign country every year. Her last trip was to Africa.

Captain Margaret Hamilton (40-ish), when not dancing for the Liberty, is a legal secretary in the intellectual property department at a law firm. In the off-season, her family was featured on NBC regarding intergenerational housing and President Obama’s mother-in-law moving into the White House. They also went to Washington, D.C. to meet with Valerie Jarrett. She was the one who got the Timeless Torches an audition with America’s Best Dance Crew (sadly, we didn’t make it), but, she is working out to get ready for the 2009 Liberty season.

Betty Mack (57), when not dancing on The Garden floor, is a pre-school teacher. During the off-season she writes customized birthday cards, thank-you notes and jingles for baby showers and other life cycle events. For Thanksgiving, she wrote two special rap songs that focused on the joys of grandparenting. Holla!

Mary Anne Holliday (58), an artist and art teacher, recently remodeled her apartment by herself - bathroom and all!

Our resident yoga expert, Maria D'Amelio (54), teaches at DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx. She completed a yoga certification in the off-season from the Integral Yoga Institution. Flexibility could very well be her middle name. 
Watch out, Myna Majors (55) is a retired law enforcement officer. An active member of her church choir, she also volunteers at several senior citizen centers, teaching breathing and stretching techniques through Tai Chi and meditation. You may have caught her as the Wicked Witch in an Interfaith Drama Production of Cinderella, even though in real life, is a very nice person.

The soon-to-be-published Jill Douglas Hopper (67) wrote Last Chance Alaska. She danced professionally at Radio City Music Hall in 1962 and 1964, which included two numbers with the Rockettes. In the off-season, she completed a large oil painting of the Grand Canyon, all the while finding time to swim laps at the gym. She's still a blonde and having more fun than ever!
Rosie Lopez (50) is a marketing analyst for the acquisitions team of a major corporation in New York City. Throughout the year she is an auxiliary police officer for a precinct in Queens as well as a New York State licensed notary public. She is definitely keeping busy, busy, busy!

Shirley Koehler (68), a secretary to the subscription manager of the New York State Theater, helps season ticket holders for both the New York City Ballet and New York City Opera. You can find her in the off-season taking classes and playing with her two grandchildren, Madeline and Patrick, any chance she gets.

Lynette Minor (50) is a registered nurse, working in the cardiac intensive care unit at a Brooklyn hospital. While taking a break from dancing, she is active in her church and was a backup singer for gospel pioneer Dorothy Norwood. Don’t ask her to sing the national anthem on court, she says dancing is more her "thang"!

NYLiberty.com: And last, but not least ... how about the men on the team?

Susan: Well Richard Michaels (59) is a bookkeeper for a non-profit mental health agency serving the LGBT community. He is a freelance videographer specializing in archiving dance performances, and also does theatrical lighting. You could probably find him in the off-season playing a lot of recreational basketball in his East Village neighborhood.

And Luis Jimenez (44) is a New York City bus driver, entertaining people from all over the world driving up Madison Avenue and down Fifth Avenue (right after the playoffs, guard Loree Moore got on his bus and they spoke for the entire ride!). In the off-season, you can catch him at lots of Knicks games, providing plenty of theatrical support from his seat for the fans at MSG. He's the "Big #20," you probably can't miss him because of his rainbow wig and cow bell.

Interested in trying out for the Timeless Torches? Don't miss the auditions on Sunday, March 29 at Ripley Grier Studios in Manhattan. Registration begins at 2:00 p.m. For more information or to pre-register, please call (212) 465-4450.