Milwaukee Dancing Grannies in West Allis parade on eve of Waukesha

The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies stepped out at the West Allis Christmas Parade on Saturday, Dec. 3 on the eve of the Waukesha parade, the first since the 2021 attack that killed four members of the group. They said their Waukesha parade performance will feature a special tribute and surprise.

With each dance move and pom-pom twist, the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies delight crowds during the holiday season. They're not just Waukesha Strong, but "Granny Strong." 

"It's definitely our calling," said Kathi Schmeling. "We just love dancing, whether it’s Christmas, or a holiday, or summer, or Memorial Day, we just love marching and dancing and making the crowd happy."

Jan Kwiatkowksi said every step they take honors the four members of their group that were killed when Darrell Brooks drove through the Waukesha parade route. Lee Owen, Virginia Sorenson, Tamara Durand and Bill Hospel died from their injuries, along with two others. 

"We know they are with us in spirit, and we have our 4s on our hats," said Kwiatkowksi. "I have a feeling they would be kicking our butts from heaven if we didn't keep going."

As they move to the beat, the Dancing Grannies say the crowd keeps them going.

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"We have gained a following," said Schmeling. 

Lucinda Moore, 6, is one of their many fans. She said she likes them "because they dance."

On the eve of the Waukesha parade, the Dancing Grannies said they are ready for the next step.

"We have 18 of us," said Kwiatkowksi. "The new people have been with us through thick and thin, with all the speed bumps and ups and downs."

They said they look forward to doing what they love. 

"It can’t come fast enough," said Schmeling.