Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, January 28, 2007, pg. 16

While the boys in this town during the 1950s were learning T-ball and softball from coach Jerry Sacharski, the girls in this community on the other hand were kept busy by taking ballet lessons from instructor Norma Jean (Mrs. Bernard) Miller. Norma operated her Dance Studio at 208½ S. Superior St. above the Acme Paint Store. In those days, second stories above Albion’s first floor downtown businesses were filled with professional offices. You had to walk up a long flight of stairs to see your physician or lawyer, or go to your club meeting.

One particular recital of the Norma Jean Miller School of the Dance was held at the Washington Gardner High School auditorium on Friday evening, May 20, 1955. The event was sponsored by the Albion Junior Chamber of Commerce Auxiliary, with proceeds going towards a “tot box” for the Children’s Ward at Sheldon Memorial Hospital.

Over 37 children ranging from ages 3 to 17 participated in the program. The first part of the evening was devoted to five separate specific acts: Ballet School, West Indian Scene, Circus (pictured on page 38 of my book “Growing Up in Albion”), Norwegian Dance, and Tenderly.

The main attraction later that evening was a dancing presentation of the fairy tale “The Sleeping Beauty.” In that tale, Jean Honeywell played the princess. Arnold Knack was the king, with Alice Geiger as the queen. The Courtiers were: Linda Haas, Natalie Robinson, Julie Knack, and Mary Gaskell. Barbara Bitney played the Fairy of the Song-Birds in Act I, but reappeared as the Prince in Act III. Sue Williams danced as the Fairy of the Pine woods, while Linda Davis performed as the Lilac Fairy.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a cute photo from Act I showing princess Jean Honeywell in the center, with pages Connie Dickmeyer on the left, and Bonnie Gaskell on the right. Special thanks to Wilta Lambrecht for supplying us with a copy of the original program. How many of our readers took ballet lessons from Norma Jean Miller?

L-R Connie Dickmeyer (page), Jean Honeywell (princess), and Bonnie Gaskell (page), The Sleeping Beauty, Act I


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