Destroy Milwaukee’s “Dancing Grandmothers” Parade

Destroy Milwaukee’s “Dancing Grandmothers” Parade

short skirts; Sparkling pellets. Rude hip swings. grandchildren.

They are Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, a steady holiday march and dance in Wisconsin for nearly 40 years, and a joyful evolution of an America expectation that the parades are supposed to feature primarily school-aged dance teams.

But tragedy struck the group when they killed three grandmothers as they walked down another main street on Sunday, as the music swirled around them.

“Our group was doing what they love, performing in front of crowds,” the group said in a statement Monday morning. Drawing smiles on the faces of all ages, filling them with joy and happiness.

Late Sunday afternoon, a red SUV driver circled a Christmas parade in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha, killing at least five people and injuring 48, according to authorities. Police said he left the scene of a home dispute and did not appear to know anyone at the parade when he drove down the road.

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Not even an hour earlier, the grandmothers called out to the fans on their Facebook page.

“Waukesha here we come!!!” Shout the post. “Grandmothers usher in holiday processions.”

The Dancing Grannies grew out of an exercise class in 1984, with dozens of women, mostly aged from their mid-50s to mid-70s, cycling on and off the set over the years. They only have one requirement: you must be a grandmother.

Police identified the dead as 79-year-old Virginia Sorenson. Lana Owen, 71 years old; Tamara Durand, 52 years old; and Wilhelm Hospel, 81. The three women were members of the Grannies, and Hospel is said to have helped the band with their shows.

Her husband, Dave Durand, who did not attend the show, said Durand was giving her first show with the grandmothers on Sunday. She only saw them perform once before deciding to join – simply because she found joy in dancing.

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He said of his wife of eight years, a nursing home chaplain and former high school and college cheerleader who had “danced her way through life,” and was “so excited” for her first performance.

“She was quite energetic and was her happiest when she was dancing,” he said.

Tamara Durand was a mother of three and had one grandchild. She nursed her grandson so that her daughter could finish nursing school, and volunteered in hospitals and nursing homes.

“She was an energizer builder,” Dave Durand said. She ran every morning no matter the weather. And she couldn’t miss the dessert by eating “more sugar than the sugar factory”.

Jane Kulich, 52, also passed away. Local news reports said she worked at a local branch of Citizens Bank, which issued a statement saying that an employee “was walking with our motorcade buoy” when she was bombed and killed. The bank did not specify the identity of the employee.

Sorenson, a dance lover who had to give up his hobby years ago after surgery, has been the group’s longtime choreographer.

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“It was like I lost a best friend” when she had to stop dancing, she told WDJT, the Milwaukee CBS affiliate, in an August story about the group. The grandmothers brought that joy back. “I love him, and I love the ladies.”

David Sorenson, her husband of nearly 60 years, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel how much she loves working with the Grannies.

“What did she like about it? She loved the instructions,” Sorenson said. She loved dancing and camaraderie between women. She loved performing.”

He said, “You taught me to do what I can.”

Copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

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