Early Beginnings


Holland Michigan’s Annual Tulip Time Celebration featuring The Mystical Troubador’s and Visser Family YMCA’s Muffin Dancers with (Back row) Spinner Julie Warners and Storyteller Grace Wolbrink and the Muffin Dancers Jasmine Warners; Elizabeth Foster; Motia  Saarenheimo; Emily Foster and Teacher/Choreographer Andrea Nightingale


“I can’t image a day in my life without dance.”
Andrea Nightingale – Age 7

The Moral of the Story be …

OK, a bit unethical wise in the world of writing, but hey. Stay with me. Let’s embrace the reality in the inspirational power of story.

Moral … Please …?


“Skip the math. Live life. Dream big. Miracles happen. Age was never a prerequisite.”
Storyteller, Grace Wolbrink

It happened a long, long time ago, or maybe not so long ago at the local YMCA.

This story begins on a note of inspirational, childhood genius. My 12-year-old daughter, Andrea’s. Not mine. You got it. The kid came up with it.

Like any great story, she had unsolvable problems to solve. Insurmountable obstacles to conquer.  Far-reaching goals to achieve.

#1 Unsolvable problem: How does a 1-year-old get a job teaching dance?

#1 Perilous obstacles to overcome: How does she get hired without anyone discovering the youthfulness of her age?

#1 Far-reaching goal to achieve: Providing a venue for pre-school and elementary school dancers to gain quality performance experience.

Strangling the criticizing, daunting voices of the unwise sages of her life, Andrea, decided age would not be a barrier. Undeterred, Andrea, celebrated her 12th B-day, by dancing her way into her first, official, dance teaching position. Yup. Literally.

Delighted parents sang the program’s praises. With her position was secured, Andrea enlisted the help of a crazed storyteller, her mother, Grace Wolbrink. Together they co-founded Mystical Troubadors, later being renamed; Storyographers. Andrea then founded the Muffin Dancers. The local  YMCA’s first, traveling dance troupe.

The rest they say was history in the making. Using her original choreography, Andrea Nightingale and the Muffin Dancers joined Storyteller Grace Wolbrink at various venues; combining the art of storytelling and dance.

In reaching her goal of providing quality performance opportunities for pre-school and elementary school dancers, the Muffin Dancers danced at such performance venues as:

Tulip Time; Holland, MI
The Great Northern Music Hall; Howard City, MI
Schuler Books and Music; Grand Rapids, MI
Fountain Street Church; Grand Rapids, MI
Fredrick Meijer Gardens; Grand Rapids, MI
CA Frost Environmental School; Grand Rapids, MI
Blandford Nature Center; Grand Rapids, MI
Festival of the Arts; Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Art Museum; Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Cable TV Station; Grand Rapids, MI
Carol Johnson Singer/Songwriter Grand Rapids, MI

As well as area libraries, nursing homes, festivals, Telebration, and private events.

Performance venues also included collaboration with local musicians, Story Spinners of Grand Rapids, and Julie Warners and her spinning wheel.

Andrea received the YMCA’s highest youth award at the age of 13. The Mind Body Spirit Award for her artistic contributions and her teaching and choreography excellence.

A special Shout Out and a story-ified standing ovation to the folks at Visser Family YMCA, Grandville, MI and the Muffin Dancers. For their staff and parent’s belief and support in the capabilities of young dancers and dance teachers of all ages.

A second out to WaZoBia Drum Ensemble: Feathering Drummer and Singer Sunny Eselekhomhen; Drummer Josh Dunigan; Flute Jennifer Beahan; and Guitar; Geoff Lamdon.

Graphic Designer Janet Shelby; Photographer Jack Warner

Visser Family YMCA’s Muffin Dancers; CA Frost Environmental School students; foreign exchange student Ruhafzo Kaikovusova  and Mackinaw Harvest Music for their contributions and support of the Storytelling CD’s Luminous Lagoon: Buggy Tales and Tunes and Bug-a-bration:


Mackinaw Harvest Music


Moral of the Story Be

“Skip the math. Live life. Dream big. Miracles happen. Age was never a prerequisite.”
Storyteller, Grace Wolbrink

Wow! Thanks for listening. We’ve been here for a while and plan on being around a while longer. While the Muffin Dancers have grown and moved; we haven’t.

Where to Find Us

For more information on Storytelling and Dance, stop by and visit us at Storyographers – Enhancing the Voice of Storytelling and Dance.