Julie Branam grew up just a few block from where we live in central Iowa. Her parents grew up near Earlham, Iowa.
Her mother, Sandy, isn’t much older than I am. I remember Sandy as a girl when Dad ran some cattle at the Compton place. Ivan Compton was Sandy’s dad. Mr. Compton as one of our friendly school bus drivers at Earlham. He also became Julie Branam’s grandfather.
Julie loved ballet, dancing with the Des Moines Ballet Company. She first saw the Rockettes in New York City with the director of the ballet company, and decided she would like to make dance a career. Wow, could she! It took a while, but she not only became a dancer during the 1980s with the world-famous Radio City Rockettes, she is now the director and choreographer of this iconic New York-based dance troupe.
I was surprised that the Rockettes began in the 1920s. Originally, a Rockette had to be between 5’2″and 5’6 ½”, but today, she is between 5’6″and 5’10 ½” and has to be proficient in tap, modern, jazz and ballet. Starting with just 16 women, over the years the troupe grew to a line of 36 dancers. Here’s a great history of the Rockettes.
The spring of 1962, the graduating seniors at Earlham High School took a class trip to New York City and Washington, DC. Yes, we got to see the Rockettes perform!
This is a delightful short video of Rockette Julie Branam.
A short one about the Wooden Soldiers.