DJ Wika Szmyt, 80, plays music at a club in Warsaw, Poland March 25, 2019. Picture taken March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
WARSAW (Reuters) – Donning yellow trousers, shiny platform shoes, red lipstick and headphones, 80-year-old “DJ Wika” stands behind the decks, mixing party music in a huge Warsaw club.
Instead of baby-sitting grandchildren, Poland’s oldest DJ Wirginia Szmyt packs her CDs, mixer and laptop, and heads off to spin for a packed dance floor of mainly senior citizens.
“I don’t care if someone likes it or not that I am dancing or jumping behind the console, because I cannot play and stay still,” said Wika, raising her hands to clap with her audience. “When I play, I feel the melody, I feel the rhythm.”
Aware of the rejuvenating quality of music for the mind and body, the self-trained Wika has been DJ-ing for Polish retirees for two decades, earning widespread respect in the trade.
Every Monday night, she entertains about 1,000 people at the Hula Kula club, smashing stereotypes and empowering seniors as she plays everything from disco and rock to samba and ballads.
“I do not fit the stereotype of an elderly person. I don’t see a reason why my age should determine my life norms,” Wika, a former special educational teacher, told Reuters.
“I used to work with young people and I kept this youthful outlook and youthful expectations … My message to youths is that your life does not end when you are 70. They would say ‘Miss Wika we are already 40, we are so old’. And I am twice as old as you and … I am not old, by no means.”
Reporting and writing by Gosia Wojtunik; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne