Stoughton Norwegian Ballroom dancers around the steps from the Wisconsin Condition Capitol carrying out the "Little Guy"
In 1952, Stoughton, Wisconsin held its first Syttende Mai celebration. This recognition from the Norwegian Independence Day was to become tradition locally. Mr. Albert Molderhauer was the administrator from the schools at that time. He was of German ancestry, but felt that since the area was mainly populated with second and third generation Norwegians, the colleges should play an energetic part in supporting ethnic pride in Stoughton.
He contacted Jeanne Reek (British ancestry), the girls' sports and physical eduction teacher, and won upon her to start a Norwegian dance group comprised of students. The audience could be likely to perform throughout future Syttende Mai festivities. Ms. Reek was unwilling to undertake this, as she'd limited folk dance background little understanding of Norwegian and it is customs. However, because she was convinced of the need for this type of group she started this program by selecting six women who consequently chose their partners to create the very first group.
The audience started by practicing throughout their lunch hour. To be able to place in additional time they started holding practices at 7:00 a.m. Because the early years the audience is continuing to grow to twenty ballroom dancers and three keyboardists. Practices are actually held every morning from 7:15 a.m. to eight:30 a.m.
Through the third year of the existence the eye from the school and community increased to such extent that Ms. Reek felt they must uncover all there is to understand about Norwegian and it is customs. She advanced the performance degree of the troop through talks and interviews with Norwegians but found hardly any recorded details about folk dancing. Within the summer time of 1964, she visited Norwegian to collect information top notch. She spent seven days there filming folk dances, getting translations to accompany the flicks, exploring costume shops and tape music.
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