WASILLA — Borealis Dancers founder, Georgie Hollander recently participated in a question and answer interview to discuss her creative, hard-working, and fun-loving dance group, the Borealis Dancers that’s been a part of the Valley for many decades.

Q: How would you describe Borealis Dancers?“Fun and fabulous folk dancing. That’s what I tell the Fair and places to simplify… We try to do a good job at this, but it’s a recreational activity.”

Q: How many members are you currently working with?“We’ve got five dancers right now… I’m the oldest but we’ve got two that are over 60.”

Q: So you’ve had all kinds of dancers in and out of the group over the years?“People come and go, but some stay [for many years, like the current group of dancers].

Q: How often do you have dance practices?“All year, except for like Christmas. We took a year off and we’re still paying for that,” she said with a laugh. “We push hard… One rule that we have is you cannot say anything negative past, ‘oh, I messed up on that one didn’t I?’ right after a show. That’s it. Because that demoralizes people. If there’s something that needs to be done, to fix, we talk about it the next practice.”

Q: How long have you been performing at the Alaska State Fair?“We’ve danced at the Fair every year— except for last year of course— since 1983. When we first danced there, we danced at the gazebo, which is gone now… We performed on the Colony Stage before it was done.”

Q: Where else do you usually perform?“We’ve danced the Coal Miner’s Ball for 30 years, and also the Pioneers of Alaska. 18:00 pop up tents costumes

Q: How did this all start?“I was teaching an aerobics class out in Sutton… I said hey we could put a can-can together. So I said okay I can make some costumes, and I’ve made most of those costumes [referring to the assortment of clothes in her studio]...They evolved as we went along…”

Q: What’s your dancing background look like?“The Eagle’s Hall in Portage, Wisconsin had a dance hall upstairs and bar downstairs. So my parents would come to the dance because they didn’t drink anyway and they put me as a baby in a cardboard box with a blanket in it and set it on the back stand. So, it is easy for me to learn folk dances and things because as soon as I crawled out of the box, I started walking and running around and people would drag me out of the dance floor. So, I just kind of learned to dance as I learned to walk.”

Q: So you’ve had dancers of all ages right?“Oh yeah. I had kids classes for several years when I was working at the elementary schools. I would just start class after school.”

Q: What does dancing mean to you after all these years?“It means I’m almost 80 and I can still do this… It keeps you in shape.”

Q: What’s your favorite thing about running this group?“We’re like a bunch of sisters and they pick on me just like I was a sister. Once in a while, I pull rank, but not very often. But yeah, it’s a good social thing… We’re like a support group. We’re here for each other.”

Q: What are your goals moving forward?“We need to bring other people in… Anybody. We just want to have fun.”

The Borealis Dancers studio is located at 6601 East Verboncoeur Drive in Wasilla. For more information, call 907-355-6505 or email georgie@mtaonline.net.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at jacob.mann@frontiersman.com

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