The Big Big Benefit for Laurie Gilkenson

Following up on my post about Laurie Gilkenson a couple of weeks ago.  I visited her in the hospital last weekend and she’s doing much better and may be moved out and into rehab soon.  On behalf of Nina and her father, I’d like to thank everyone for their kind words  and donations.

If you haven’t seen it already, we’ll be having a benefit for Laurie.  It’s a little overwhelming to see so many people generously donating their time for this.

Even though it’s a whole weekend of stuff, the main benefit is on Friday night with non stop live music provided by the Tom Cunningham Orchestra and Blue Sky 5.  Details are below, but check out and RSVP to the invite on Facebook in order to get updates about the event.   I hope to see you there!

The Big Big Benefit: A Weekend of Events at Glen Echo Park for Laurie Gilkenson.

Presented by Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, Jam Cellar, Flying Feet Enterprises, Tom Cunningham Orchestra, and Blue Sky 5
July 9-10, 2010
Spanish Ballroom, Glen Echo Park

As you may have heard, Nina Gilkenson’s mom Laurie suffered a brain aneurysm on May 6th and has been in very serious condition ever since. The family is now facing mounting bills and could really use our help and support.

Nina and Laurie have been part of the DC and international Lindy community since 1997. Thousands of people know Nina from her travels around the world to teach and perform, and many in the dance community of us have also gotten to know Laurie over the years.

Laurie works as a Hall Manager at Glen Echo Park, volunteers countless hours for Jam Cellar (we couldn’t do our taxes without her!), and is the designated mom of the DC dance scene. You may not know that she performed on Broadway when she was a kid, was a ballerina until she shattered her foot, and spent years teaching drama to high school students. But you probably *do* know that she makes friends wherever she goes.

We are so excited to have so many people coming together to help Laurie and are thrilled to have three wonderful bands for the weekend: Tom Cunningham Orchestra, Blue Sky 5 and the Boilermaker Jazz Band!

Friday, July 9, 2010
GEPPAC and Jam Cellar present the Tom Cunningham Orchestra and Blue Sky 5 +2
Spanish Ballroom, Glen Echo Park
Dance 9-12, Lesson 8-9 (free with admission)
$15 (ALL proceeds will be donated to the Gilkensons)

Saturday, July 10, 2010
We’re hoping to have more activities during the day – check back soon!

Saturday, July 10, 2010
Flying Feet Enterprises presents the Boilermaker Jazz Band
Spanish Ballroom, Glen Echo Park
Dance 9-12, Lesson 8-9 (free with admission)
$15 (Flying Feet’s net proceeds will be donated to the Gilkensons)

More details will be announced later – so stay tuned! Please pass this invitation along to anyone who knows Laurie or Nina. If you are interested in volunteering or helping in any way please contact

Presented in cooperation with the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts & Culture, Inc., the National Park Service and Montgomery County, MD.

P.S. If you would like to contribute but can’t make it to the event you can send money to Nina’s Paypal account: botsandbeans at Thank you!



  1. Marilyn Maines said,

    July 17, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Just saw this about Laurie’s stroke last year. Is there any update on her condition ?

    • Jerry said,

      July 18, 2011 at 8:11 am

      Thankfully, she’s recovered very well. It’s is a bit of a miracle since she was struck with multiple min-strokes after her first one. According to the doctors she should have died several times over, but she’s a pretty tough woman and she’s almost made a complete recovery.

      • Marilyn Maines said,

        July 18, 2011 at 2:58 pm

        So glad to hear this news! Thanks so much for sharing. Laurie is a great person and deserves the best.

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