The Dancing Grannies pay tribute to these killed in Waukesha Christmas parade assault

The Dancing Grannies pay tribute to these killed in Waukesha Christmas parade assault

Members of the Dancing Grannies pose for an image earlier than attending the Milwaukee St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 12, 2022. This efficiency marked the primary because the Waukesha Christmas tragedy the place 4 members of the troupe had been killed.

Daybreak Rowland Wester

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Daybreak Rowland Wester

Members of the Dancing Grannies pose for an image earlier than attending the Milwaukee St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 12, 2022. This efficiency marked the primary because the Waukesha Christmas tragedy the place 4 members of the troupe had been killed.

Daybreak Rowland Wester

The St. Patrick’s Day parade had been hailed as a return to normalcy in Milwaukee, which canceled the celebration the previous two years because of the pandemic.

However for members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, a neighborhood dance troupe for grandmothers, the parade final week stirred up four-month-old reminiscences of when three of its members and a volunteer had been killed throughout its efficiency in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

“There was nervousness as a result of individuals did not understand how they might be. Everyone was decided that we had been going to do that parade,” mentioned Jan Kwiatkowski, one of many Dancing Grannies’ co-leaders. “It was the whole lot from nervousness to nervousness to pleasure and elation; the entire continuum of feelings.”

In complete, six individuals had been killed and at the very least 62 others injured after the driving force of an SUV plowed right into a crowd of individuals on the annual parade on Nov. 21, 2021.

Amongst these killed had been: Tamara Durand, 52; LeAnna Owen, 71; and Virginia “Ginny” Sorenson, 79. William Hospel, 81, the husband of one other Grannie, additionally died because of the assault. Two others had been additionally struck and killed; 52-year-old Jane Kulich and 8-year-old Jackson Sparks.

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Because the lack of its group members final November, the surviving Dancing Grannies mentioned they weren’t going to let the trauma cease the present.

“[N]obody, particularly the Grannies who had been there, knew precisely how it will [feel] at that second,” Kwiatkowski mentioned. “As a bunch, we had talked about how will we assist one another by means of this. The flip aspect was fairly actually the enjoyment of simply dancing collectively once more and going, ‘We’re again and we’re going to do that and we’ll get by means of.'”

Extra than simply train for older girls

The Dancing Grannies began in 1984 as a jazz train group throughout a time when aerobics lessons had been rising in reputation because of exercise videotapes and tutorial packages.

Since then, the Grannies have change into a beloved dancing group that crisscrosses Wisconsin to carry out in about 25 parades annually.

It took till after the group’s very first parade efficiency showcasing girls’s aerobics lessons for older girls for the Grannies to discipline extra parade requests, in line with Kwiatkowski.

A supporter of the Dancing Grannies holds an indication honoring the dance group throughout the 2022 Milwaukee St. Patrick’s Day parade. The Milwaukee-based group made its first look because the lethal Waukesha Christmas parade assault final November that killed three of its dancers.

Daybreak Rowland Wester

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Daybreak Rowland Wester

A supporter of the Dancing Grannies holds an indication honoring the dance group throughout the 2022 Milwaukee St. Patrick’s Day parade. The Milwaukee-based group made its first look because the lethal Waukesha Christmas parade assault final November that killed three of its dancers.

Daybreak Rowland Wester

“And from there, individuals appreciated it. They thought it was fairly cool,” she mentioned.

Honoring the fallen

The group’s efficiency on March 12 paid tribute to the 4 Grannies killed in Waukesha.

The group wore patches with the quantity 4 embroidered on their jackets together with wristbands with the phrases “Granny Robust.”

One lasting custom earlier than any parade efficiency has been a toast with home made Bailey’s. However this time, the Grannies honored the 4 members they misplaced. The group was additionally joined by Ginny’s husband Dave Sorenson.

Two of Ginny Sorenson’s granddaughters holding a banner honoring the fallen group members throughout the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Milwaukee. Earlier than Sorenson was killed, she choreographed two of the Irish routines the group danced to throughout the parade.

The Dancing Grannies

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The Dancing Grannies

Two of Ginny Sorenson’s granddaughters holding a banner honoring the fallen group members throughout the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Milwaukee. Earlier than Sorenson was killed, she choreographed two of the Irish routines the group danced to throughout the parade.

The Dancing Grannies

“He got here and wished us effectively and mentioned that he knew that Ginny could be proud,” Kwiatkowski mentioned.

Through the parade, the Grannies carried out a lot of dances — two of which had been choreographed by Ginny, who served as each the group’s chief and choreographer earlier than her dying.

“She was so happy with them, and we by no means received to carry out them then [due to COVID],” mentioned Kwiatkowski.

“This was our first time performing them and it was like ‘Ginny, we’ll do you proud.’ … and I feel we did,” she added.

Rising in reputation

Following the tragedy in Waukesha final November, the Grannies have obtained assist from throughout the U.S., one thing the group mentioned meant quite a bit to them following the tragedy

“It is actually been simply type of wonderful how individuals in every single place have linked to us, sending playing cards of assist or perhaps a message on Fb. To take the time to try this was fairly wonderful,” Kwiatkowski mentioned.

Because the parade assault final yr, the surviving group members introduced on 22 new grandmothers, or “Grannies in Coaching.”

“I simply really feel actually proud to have the ability to stroll together with them,” Judy Brunette, one of many Grannies in Coaching, advised WISH 12.

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Enrollment for the Grannies in Coaching program is in such excessive demand, there is a waitlist of practically 30 individuals, mentioned Kwiatkowski.

“We’re simply determining how we’ll get this second cohort began as a result of we have by no means had as many individuals come at one time [to join],” she mentioned.

Along with the brand new faces becoming a member of, the group has additionally obtained invites to carry out within the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Mardi Gras.

The reminiscence of their fallen members will at all times be with them, Kwiatkowski mentioned.

“There’s lots of people on this world who’ve been by means of some fairly arduous stuff. However therapeutic is feasible and is a vital message to ship,” mentioned added.

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