85-year-old joins great-granddaughter on stage

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Courtesy photo
Tori Olson, left, does the splits with her great-grandmother, Ruth Vogel. Pictured with them are Teri Reeves, Olson’s grandmother, and Sophie Lepkoske, Reeves’ granddaughter.

An 85-year-old great-grandmother wowed the crowd at a recent Fillies Follies spring variety show at Denton High School when she performed a high-kick alongside her great-granddaughter, Tori Olson, followed by the splits.

“It brought the house down both nights,” said Teri Reeves, the 85-year-old’s daughter.

Fillies Follies is a variety show held in the spring, which includes various dance routines and skits.

Reeves and her mother, Ruth Vogel, who’s also known as “Gigi,” and Reeves’ 4-year old granddaughter, Sophia Lepkoske, participated in the mother-daughter dance, a tradition of the Fillies Follies showcase, with Tori, a senior, March 1 and 2.

They filled in for Tori’s mother, Miranda (Mandy) Mitchell, who died Feb. 2, 2008. Reeves said she’s raised Tori since her mother’s death.

Reeves described the performances as a moment that was melancholy and emotional. To have Vogel participate was emotional and exciting, Reeves said.

“I don’t even know how to describe it,” she said of the three generations performing together. “To do something like that is a memory of a lifetime. It’s one of those lifetime memories you’ll never forget.

“Hopefully, it will be a memory of a lifetime for [Tori] also.”

Not many people can say they performed a dance routine in which their great-grandmother does the splits, said 17-year-old Tori.

“When my great-grandmother did the splits, the crowd just went wild, and she became a star-struck ham,” Tori said. “She was the star of the night.”

Since her mother’s death, Tori said her grandmother and great-grandmother have stepped in and been the mother figures in her life. On that stage during the Fillies Follies event, she said she felt a true bond with the two women.

“These two ladies really have done a lot of things for me to shape me into who I am now,” she said.

Prior to Fillies Follies, the trio only had a few times to rehearse.

“We looked silly, but we had fun, nonetheless,” Tori said.

Dancing has been a part of Vogel’s life since childhood, she said. Years before she ever had any professional dance training, she said her older sisters encouraged her. For years she danced with the USO tour, she said.

Vogel said she’s always been the type of person who enjoys moving and doing stuff and has always had “the urge to exercise and stay agile.”

She said as long as she can kick eye height and sit on the floor and do splits, she’s “not old yet.”

Being “a real ham at heart,” Vogel said it was great performing in the Fillies Follies showcase and she found the response from the audience heartwarming.

“I’m still a ham at heart, so I still love an applause,” she said. “It made me feel good. It made me feel like I was a sweet young thing in my 50s.”

BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876. Her e-mail address is btabor@dentonrc.com .


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