Pamm Drake and Other Alamedans Dance at Warriors Games

The veteran Dance/10 director and her students are members of the Hardwood Classics, dancing at Warriors games.


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Photo courtesy The Warriors

The Golden State Warriors added to its on-court entertainment family this year with the creation of the Hardwood Classics, a dance team composed of men and women 55 and older designed to get the sellout crowds at Oracle Arena pumped up while the clock is stopped on the reigning NBA champs.

A mighty 300 seasoned senior performers turned out to audition for the dance team in August in hopes of taking part in the Hardwood Classics inaugural season. Alameda’s Dance/10 director Pamm Drake and her longtime students Jan Yale and Dorothy Holmes came out on top. Out of the 21 dancers selected, all three Alameda women were chosen among former Warriors Girls and Lakers Girls, to create one of the most experienced dance teams in the Bay Area, performing monthly to sold-out crowds at Oracle Arena.

A nonstop dance performer, instructor, and studio director for the past 30-plus year, Drake decided that she was finally going to take three days a week off from the busy studio where she has taught generations of Alamedans — ranging from preschoolers to senior adults — the delights of tap and jazz. Just as she cleared her calendar in hopes of making a move toward retirement, Drake got hip to the Warriors audition, thus embarking on a brand new dance adventure.

“One of the greatest things about being a part of Hardwood Classics for me at this point in my career is that I found my tribe. It is truly a unique opportunity at my age to find a group of peers that still vigorously dance, and it remains a part of their everyday lives. It’s a real level of commitment, not just to performing at the games, but also rehearsing every Monday evening until 11 p.m.” 

A bit of a celebrity as the founder of Alameda’s celebrated Tap Dancing Christmas Trees, Drake owns up to having no interaction with the superstar NBA players. In fact, she reveals being starstruck by her fellow performers. “It’s the professionalism of the Hardwood Classics that inspire me the most right now, in my performing and in my teaching,” she said.

Like the community she has created in Alameda, Drake’s favorite moments on the floor at Oracle Arena have come from collaborative performances with the other dance troupes, including the Warriors Dance Team, the Golden State Breakers, and the Junior Jam Squad.

“It is amazing dancing in front of sellout crowds, especially the few large scale performances we have had this season with the other teams, namely for Halloween and the recent Tribute to Motown. It reflects the experience I have created at Dance/10, where all of my students, spanning the spectrum of age and experience, come together as one.”

The regular season is winding down for both the Warriors and the Hardwood Classics, but the possibility of upcoming playoff performances has Pamm and the whole team hopeful and excited. When asked if she was planning to follow the Warriors across to their new home next season at Chase Center in San Francisco, she said, “I absolutely plan on auditioning again.” Sounds like retirement can wait a little bit longer for Drake and the Hardwood Classics.

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