Dancing Grannies Are Making a Comeback After Waukesha Christmas Parade Tragedy

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Currents News Staff

Hard at work behind closed doors, the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies are planning a comeback. Member Jan Kwiatkowski says she has an array of emotions.

“Rebuilding, ya know, it’s hard. It’s exciting. It’s scary,” Jan said.

The group lost three members and a volunteer in the Waukesha Christmas parade attack three months ago. The community is still mourning after a man plowed his SUV through the crowd. Sharon Millard was there when it happened.

“Since Waukesha, I think after the grieving, I pulled through with a lot of help from friends and some counseling and it just made me kind of look forward to our future,” Sharon said.

So with one foot in front of the other and poms in hand, the grannies began to rebuild. The group was too small to perform following the attack. Grannies Member Jean Knutson says back then their numbers were low.

“We were down to maybe eight surviving grannies,” Jean said.

But they weren’t too weak to try and now their numbers are growing.

There are nearly 20 “Grannies in training.” They’ll have to learn all of the routines, dance in a parade and make the commitment to become a granny. Colleen Minisce is a granny in training.

“We feel very welcome. I was following them on Facebook, I love to dance, and then when I saw the tragedy I just wanted to be able to give back to them and support them,” Colleen said.

In just a few weeks, the dancing grannies will step back onto the streets to perform at the Milwaukee St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

“We’re going to be smiling and be upbeat, we’re going to be proud. There’s no sadness,” Sharon said.

But there is sentiment. Ginny Sorenson, one of the fallen members, choreographed two Irish routines for the 2020 St. Patrick’s Day Parade. COVID canceled those celebrations ever since, and the routines went unseen, until now.

“We realized a couple weeks ago that, ‘Oh wow, we’re going to be doing these songs Ginny, she was so proud of them, we’re going to be doing them for the first time publicly,” said Dancing Grannies Member Jan Kwiatkowski.

It’s a moment the prospective members can contribute to and help create what they will become.

“It’s like a brand new start,” Sharon said.