NOTE: Billie Mahoney died at 2 am January 31, 2022 at age 94 (born Nov 23, 1927)
A celebration of Billie's life was held Monday March 14th, 2022, 6:30-8:30PM in the
I am leaving the text just below as is. This was written at the time "Dance On" was still going. The "added links" section is for various other references following Billie's passing. I may add other references later. The bottom set of links to KCDance.com are adapted from the list of links on that site with events featuring or organized by Billie.
This is my video greeting to be played at the remembrance with everyone else's video greeting, of people who had danced with Billie
Billie Mahoney started her Dance On program in 1981 in New York City recording more than 300 programs. She re-started the program in April 2011 with myself (Mike Strong) providing cameras, shooting, editing, lights and other equipment.
At the start I include my own setup routine at Kansas City Ballet's Bolender Center's conference room.
Note from Feb 2022: The Time Warner channel has been broadcasting only their general feed, nothing local.
A few added links:
Retrospective using Labanotation to reconstruct Luigi's exercises
Video of one of Billie's monthly tap-dance jams at the now defunct Arts Bar, about 36th and Broadway.
Video link to Vimeo of Billie receiving "Dancers Over 40's" first ever Legacy Awards which was given to six women, Marge Beddow, Marge Champion, Nicole Barth, Gemze de Lappé, Zoe Dell Nutter and Billie Mahoney. 13 December 2009 at Swing 46 in NYC.
Video of DanceUSA Awards in Union Station in Kansas City June 17th, 2017. Billie was one of the honorees. DanceUSA Awards in Union Station in Kansas City June 17th, 2017. There are five awardees with speakers and a promotional video ahead of them:
Video of Buck O'Neill in Billie's production of Music of our Lives 2006. He had performed in 2004 and was scheduled to perform in 2006 but died a couple of weeks before the show. So, I put together this bit from the 2004 show, which was played for the audience in 2006.
Links for Billie Mahoney and Dancers on KCDance
Award Night at Dance USA June 7, 8, 9, 10 2017 - (down the page) award presented by Lonnie McFadden
Kansas City Dance - KCDance.Com
Celebration of Life 14 March 2022, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
The event remembering Billie started with performances, videos and statements in the large theater studio on the ground floor of Bolender Center, the Michael and Ginger Frost Theater. Roughly 60 people showed up. There was a reception after with food and a small band with Rich Hill (one of Billie's tappers) on keyboard, Rod Fleeman on guitar and Bryan Hicks on Bass. Here are a few pictures.
From here to the Finale with the Shim Sham
This is the remembrance bio of Billie written for the back of the celebration of life program: I don't know who put it together. This wasn't credited.
BILLIE R. MAHONEY
Everyone who knew her would agree that Billie Mahoney was one of a kind. She grew up in an era when women were largely relegated to the home, but that path was not for Ms. Billie. A dancer from a very young age, she forged a career of many years and highlights, working side by side with the greats of the dance world, recognized by them not only as a stellar performer, but also as a teacher, choreographer, organizer, and dance notation specialist; in the words of the conductor of a senior orchestra in which she was a drummer, "Billie Mahoney is a force of nature."
A fiery redhead with a temper to match, Billie left Kansas City to go to New York City in 1950. There, she performed in many venues, including the revival of the Broadway show Pal Joey, with Bob Fosse in the lead role. She taught dance and dance notation at the Julliard School and was known as one of the big three "modern jazz" dance teachers in New York in the 1960s alongside the luminaries Matt Mattox and Luigi. One of Billie's more exotic talents was twirling two batons, which she did in her early club acts and in performances with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. In 1967, she played the character Billie Rose Carson in the movie "The Night They Raided Minsky's," directed by Norman Lear and also starring Jason Robards, Britt Eklund, and Elliot Gould. While earning her master's degree in Media Studies from the New School for Social Research, Billie germinated the idea for the weekly television show "Dance On with Billie Mahoney," which she produced and hosted, over the years interviewing more than 400 luminaries from all disciplines of dance.
Billie returned to her hometown Kansas City in 1992 and is most known for her promotion of tap dance, a discipline she started at age 4 and continued throughout her life. Her tap dance company, the Billie Mahoney Dance Troupe, for many years performed at a variety of venues and events, including Kansas City Dance Day at the Kansas City Ballet. Almost every year, Billie organized celebrations of National Tap Dance Day, the holiday honoring Bill "Bojangles" Robinson's birthday. She was one of the first recipients of the Legacy Award from the organization Dancers over 40 in 2009, which recognizes lifetime contributions to dance and the organization. In 2017, the national service organization Dance/USA honored Billie with the Champion award. Lisa Jo Sagolla wrote in Dance/USA's From the Green Room: "Is there anyone else in the dance world who has served as Luigi's jazz-dance teaching assistant, produced her own television dance-talk show, taught Labanotation at Juilliard, and performed as a baton-twirling tap dancer on the "Ed Sullivan Show," in personal appearances with Bob Hope, and on tour with Lionel Hampton? Probably not." https://www.danceusa.org/ejournal/2017/05/09/billie-mahoney-champion-2017
Billie Mahoney danced for most of her life, performing the shim sham (a traditional dance that all tap dancers should know, she told us) with Lonnie McFadden and others at a celebration of National Tap Dance Day at Kansas City's Black Dolphin jazz bar in 2020, when she was 92 years old. The dance community has truly lost a treasure, but it is with great admiration and pride we say Dance on Billie—we will always remember you.