Thursday, November 19, 2009


Land of Make Believe 1992
Masquerade 1993
Razzle Dazzle 1994
Steppin' Out 1995

Greg Gale's Stormdance Troupe put on quite a show. His genius choreography enabled 100 dancers between ages 5 and 90 to perform the weekends prior to Thanksgiving at the Willowbrook Ballroom. And boy, did we razzle dazzle 'em...

Our rehearsals were held at the ballroom every Sunday morning from 8:30 until noon from August until showtime. This was only the group rehearsal, for we practiced during the week at the health club as well as private dance lessons if solo performances were given. Dance is the answer we would chime. It relieves depression, keeps you in shape, great social avenue and helps focus, concentration and coordination. It was the best form of exercise and the most fun. Our troupe became our new family and Greg referred to me as Sister.

Stormdancers hailed from many walks of life and we held an assortment of professions from lawyers, doctors, McDonald's business owners, you name it. Most dancers were seasoned and had years of lessons and talent. Helena was a Luv-A-Bull. Heidi and Roz competed and most times won first place with Greg as their partner. Greg and Shelly Gale were international ballroom dance champions. We had the best of the best teaching us. Connie Payton (Mrs. Walter) donated her furs for modeling. (She and her cronies complimented me on my legs.) My buddy, Patty, and I were not so talented and we referred to ourselves as the Polish (wannabe)ballerinas. What we lacked in experience we made up for in passion. We danced our hearts out.

Our energies were off the charts so we combined our strengths to serve a purpose, choosing to perform and give the proceeds to the DuPage County Health Department AIDS Program. My organizational skills enabled Greg to focus on the big picture. In return he gave me piano lessons and I still remember how to play Somewhere in Time, Impossible Dream and All I Ask. Roz was master seamstress and pretty much designed and made all the costumes with direction from Greg. I am so not into sewing so I just cut the patterns for her at times; she did the majority of it all. We all gave what we could to this venture and that is what made these events so magical. Wayne did the lighting and sound for the shows, Danny played drums and Mike and Steve performed a group dance number. My whole family was involved, as were other families.

After the reception and dinner, we entertained our guests with music, singing and primarily dancing including ballroom, flamenco, artistic, hip hop, funk and we showcased our talents with solo performances. I performed an artistic dance to Elton John's the One and Jeff Beck's Moodswings. I learned ballroom, salsa, flamenco, swing, hip hop, funk, and even a little ballet. The only previous dance lesson I had was taking modern jazz at the Kelly park district when I was 10. Let this be a testament that we are never too old to try something new.

We competed at the Indiana competition, all of us taking first place for group and individual performances. We performed for various private parties and Vickie, Roz and I were our own version of the Supremes performing at a Christmas party at O'Hare Hyatt Hotel with 1,500 people in attendance. We had the time of our life! My dad's personal favorite was when Greg dedicated his performance of Malaguena to him. That man sure could flick his cape.

Each show had a theme - Make Believe incorporated every talent available since it was our first show. Each year was improved and Masquerade had Phantom of the Opera themes woven throughout the show. Razzle Dazzle was my very favorite as it was a tribute to Bob Fosse and included our Wilkomen act. Steppin' Out was a tribute to the older, classic dances like swing and ballroom. Each and every dancer will tell you how they hold these memories close to their heart. As Leann Womack croons I hope you dance... xo