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Dance On with Billie Mahoney - A Sampler

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
Michael and Ginger Frost Theater at the Kansas City Ballet followed by a reception.

Masks and proof of vaccination were required. Around 60 (+-) people attended.
I will have a few pictures later, as I process them.
Google maps link: 500 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, Missouri 64108
Link to obit:

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 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
Video Link 30 seconds:
Here is Nicole English's Video Greeting.
Video Link 42 seconds:

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.

Dance On is aired (cable broadcast) weekly on Time Warner in Kansas City (Channel 17, I think, the Arts Channel). Although it is 1 1/4 hours this is only a tiny sampling of some of the many bits and many guests across the 2011 through 2015 period. Except where noted the added video and stills are by me. Some are contributed by those interviewed.

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.
Kevin Mullin, at UMKC, says the transmitter from UMKC finally gave out and they are looking for $9,000 to get another.

A few added links:

Video of Billie talking about Luigi for Luigi's remembrance in May 2014

Retrospective using Labanotation to reconstruct Luigi's exercises
from Billie's notebooks of the 1950's and 1960's with Christine Colby Jacques
in the old Main Street studio of City in Motion.
Video URL 28 min 34 sec:

Video of one of Billie's monthly tap-dance jams at the now defunct Arts Bar, about 36th and Broadway.
May 2014 with Lonnie and Ronald McFadden

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:
0:03:30 - Jeff Bentley, CEO KC Ballet, lead off speech
0:8:25 - Kansas City, MO promotional video
0:11:00 - Sly James, Mayor of Kansas City, MO, welcome speech
0:14:00 - Amy Fetterer - MC from DanceUSA
0:16:50 - Billie Mahoney - awardee
0:38:00 - Cleo Parker Robinson - awardee
0:58:00 - Ian Horvath, "Ernie" - awardee
1:03:50 - Gina Gibney - awardee
1:20:50 - Doug Sonntag - awardee
1:31:50 - Thank you

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
Union Station, Nov 19, 2016
Dance On from 2011 - 2015 picture page
National Tap Dance Day 2014
At Union Station for Armed Forces Day 17 May 2014
National Tap Dance Day at The Arts Bar 25 May 2013
Tap Jam at the Arts Bar 7 Feb 2013
Tap Jam at The Arts Bar 2 Aug 2012
Legacy Award from Dancers Over 40 in NYC 2009
Senior Quest 2009
Senior Quest 2008
Billie Mahoney Dance Troupe 2007 preperatory to NYC trip
Tap Dance Day May 25, 2000

Kansas City Dance - KCDance.Com
Photos by Mike Strong, Copyright © Mike Strong All rights reserved


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.


Lamont Brown and Christine Colby Jacques

Christina Burton looking over some of the displays showing Billie.

Nicole English and Tamara Carson

Kevin McKinney arriving with camera case in the main studio.

Dance and Music critic for The Star and now The Independent and one of Billie's interviewees, Paul Horsley


Nancy Murdock, one of Billie's tappers, one of the organizers of the celebration, MC for the night, welcoming the attendees and introducing the first piece "Side by Side" (below)

Billie Mahoney Tap Dance Troupe: L-R Charlotte Cates, Naomi Mayekawa, Nancy Murdock, Cindy Bleck, Jane York, Sharon Sanderson

Cindy Bleck talking about her times with Billie

Lonnie McFadden talking about knowing Billie across the years and dancing with her on shows

Billie Mahoney Dance Troupe - "Steppin' Out"


Barbara Leatherman, friend of Billie, a fellow parishioner

Christine Colby Jacques, friend and collaborator with Billie who shared notes with her about working for Luigi and dancing with Bob Fosse. After this, Christine introduced a short combination starting in Luigi style and finishing in Fosse style.

Combination - first in Luigi style then in Bob Fosse style. L-R: Cindy Bleck, Christine Colby Jacques, Liz Trevino

From here to the Finale with the Shim Sham

Adding in Lonnie and Ronald McFadden (front)

Lonnie McFadden, in the Shim Sham finale

Nancy Murdock



Paul Horsley

Trio: Rod Fleeman on guitar, Bryan Hicks on bass, Rich Hill on keyboards. Rich is also a tapper.

Jennifer Owen (r)

Liz Jeans (r)

Cindy Bleck, Beth Byrd, Nicole English

Michelle Hamlett-Weith

Lamont Brown and Tracy Herber

Nicole English, Marbel Mattson

Kevin McKinney

Jennifer Owen and Christine Colby Jacques. Rod Fleeman (guitar) is in the background.

Rich Hill and Michelle Hamlett-Weith with Michelle in Arabesque on the wall behind, just between their heads.



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.


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."

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.