Just 20, Johanna will be the youngest dancer to ever grace the Gala stage. But if she's intimidated, you'd never know it talking to her.
"I am a little nervous, but mostly I'm very excited," she says. "I'm a really awkward dancer, but that's OK; this is for a good cause!"
Johanna's dad, Sebastian, danced the West Coast Swing at the Gala in 2009. When Johanna asked Sebastian about following in his footsteps – literally – he endorsed the idea wholeheartedly, but told his daughter she'd be responsible for the cost of sponsorship. Johanna accepted that challenge, and raised the money herself. Though her personal dance style is more dubstep or chillstep, she'll pay homage to Sebastian by also performing the West Coast Swing.
"I have no idea how to do it," she says with a big smile. "I've been You Tubing it, checking out a few videos."
Johanna, a Plymouth High School graduate, is worldly beyond her years, having studied in Mexico and Germany. She's fluent in three languages – English, Spanish and German – and plans to return to school in Germany, where both of her parents were born. Her interests vary widely, from soccer and running to drawing and jazz.
Johanna is extremely passionate about the Rotaract Club of Sheboygan County, a nonprofit community service organization she's dancing for. Rotaract, sponsored by the Sheboygan Early Bird Rotary, is comprised of members between the ages of 18 and 30 and lives by the motto, "Service above Self."
"Dancing in the Gala is very exciting, but it's not about me," says Johanna. "I really want to promote Rotaract, because it's so important to this community. A club like this, for young adults to give back to the community, could be truly spectacular. It's a way to show that Sheboygan County is a great place for young people."
JOHANNA HAS MULTIPLE SPONSORS THROUGH THE SHEBOYGAN COUNTY ROTARY CLUBS AND SARTORI CHEESE, AND HAS CHOSEN ROTARACT AS THE RECIPIENT OF 50 PERCENT OF THE PROCEEDS RAISED THROUGH THE PURCHASE OF EXTRA VOTES ON HER BEHALF.
SHE WILL PERFORM A WEST COAST SWING ROUTINE WITH HER DANCE PARTNER, MIKE KONKEL.