Betty Champion, where are you now and what would you think of the adventures of the Johnson sisters? Our first dance teacher was an alumna of the NYC Rockettes. Such a patient mentor for two tap-crazy sisters in the 1960s. Long since our first lessons at the American Legion Post and Betty’s studio above the Park Theater, we have gone our separate, but related, dancing ways with Judy studying Irish dance and with me exploring international folk dance and historic social dance. Some of my favorite designs are related to dance events. Here’s the most recent for a collaboration with Jack and Susan Nicholson of Frogwater.
Other dance promotions focused on Civil War living history events, including our first grand celebration in 2010, a fundraiser for an annual event held at Milwaukee’s historic VA Medical Center. Sources and inspiration for historic designs included period sheet music, dance manuals, and ephemera related to the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.
Sometimes it wasn’t dancing at all, but just fun and games. The highlight of this evening was the staging of “The Dumb Orator” by Tom and Terry Arliskas.
This event featured appearances by Louis P. Harvey, Wisconsin’s Civil War governor who met an untimely death while visiting Wisconsin troops after the battle of Shiloh. His wife, Cordelia, continued his mission throughout the War, earning the title of the “Wisconsin Angel.”
Less grand events included the Hard Times Ball in honor of Stephen Foster, seasonal socials, and two Fancy Dress Balls (masquerades, masks optional).