Beverly Blanich was born November 13, 1923 in Bismarck, ND, to Joseph (Joe) and Gertrude Halbeisen. She grew up in Fargo and from an early age was involved in creative pursuits. From the age of six, she took dance lessons at the Early School of Dancing and for several years she studied art with Sister St. Anne at the Sacred Heart Academy. Bev was musically inclined with the ability to play by ear (apparently only on the black keys) and had a lovely natural singing voice. She graduated from Fargo Central High School in 1941 and from North Dakota State University (then NDAC) in 1945. Active in numerous campus organizations, she was president of her sophomore and senior classes and of Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority. Throughout college, she played significant roles in numerous Little Country Theatre productions, including Eliza Doolittle in “Pygmalian.” Her acting successes under the mentorship of Alfred Arvold at LCT led to a scholarship to the Priscilla Beach Theatre in Plymouth, MA, for a season of summer stock her junior year, and instilled in her a life-long love of the theater. In January 1946, Bev and friend June Dobervich initiated the meeting that launched the Fargo Community Theater, which opened with its first play, “My Sister Eileen,” that spring. She appeared in many of its productions and served on an early Board of Directors. Importantly, Bev met her future husband Lewis D. Blanich at the first organizing meeting of the FMCT. They were married on August 27, 1954 in the First Presbyterian Church of Fargo and had two daughters, Tamara and Tania. Bev established the Halbeisen School of Dancing in 1947 and began a 41-year career of teaching, performing, staging dance recitals and entertaining at events throughout the community. She remained interested in perfecting her craft, and spent summers studying in the early years of the school. Notably, in the summer of 1947, she studied with Princess Nina Cacciolo (formerly of Nijinski’s ballet company) and others in Miami, and the summer of 1948 at Carnegie Hall in New York with ballet masters such as Anton Dolin and Anthony Tudor, former principal dancers of the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, and with Alexandra Danilova, prima ballerina of the Ballets Russes. Over the course of her career, Bev taught more than 2,000 students. Apparently unable to fully retire from teaching (she closed her school in 1988), she taught aquarobics for 17 years at the Fargo YWCA. During her retirement, she also enjoyed traveling, most often to New York or Chicago to visit her children. Bev passed away peacefully on March 22 at the age of 96 at home with her daughters at her side. She was preceded in death by her husband Lewis, her parents, and her sisters Jean (Ernest) Hector and Dorothy (Lloyd) Sveen. She is survived by daughters Tamara Blanich and Tania Blanich and numerous nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorials may be sent to the Alfred G. Arvold Scholarship for Theatre Arts (through the NDSU Foundation) or to Hospice of the Red River Valley.

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  1. To Toni and Tami,

    I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your mother. She was beyond phenomenal and cleared a path for many woman today. She did so much for girls and boys, the community and the city of Fargo. She was a mentor to many many young woman and men and she was never forgotten. She had so many talents too numerous to mentioned and I thought of her often. She was so quick witted, creative and wicked smart. I have mentioned her in many of my conversations through my life. She will forever be part of me. She was loved by so many. It is a sad time, however, she would want us to rejoice and dance to a show tune such as New York, New York.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Sue

  2. Tamara I’m so sorry to hear about your Mom. Thinking of you during this time of loss. May God guide you and your sister in the days ahead. Love and prayers to all.

  3. My sincere sympathy in the loss of this wonderful person!
    I was a dance student of hers in the 60’s – tap,ballet and jazz. I loved every minute of it and the yearly recitals too!
    I respected her and have always cherished the memory of those years at Halbeisen School of Dance!

  4. Tamara,
    I am so sorry for your loss. My heart breaks for you and Tania.
    I am thinking about you and sending love and prayers your way.
    Krisanne

  5. Tamara and Tania,
    While I didn’t know your mother personally, I know that she raised wonderful daughters and had an enormous impact on the community. Her legacy is that she helped mentor so many young people and brought art to people who might not otherwise have it. I am truly sorry for your loss.

  6. If I am graceful at all it is surely due to Bev! I was a student for many years and look back on my time with Miss Halbeisen and subsequently Mrs. Blanich with such fondness and appreciation. I look at the Forum every so often and was saddened to read of her passing. My most sincere sympathy to her family.
    Former student and Fan
    Mary Tallman
    Chicago

  7. Tamara, You and your sister, must have great memories of your mom as I reflect on the stories you’ve shared and the beautiful obituary published. I’m glad she touched Kolbe’s life if only for a day. You both are in my family’s thoughts and prayers for comfort, strength, and perspective. We will continue to pray for your mom’s soul.

  8. So sorry for your loss Tamara. Holding you and your sister close to my heart in this difficult time. Your mother sounds like a wonderful woman!

  9. Remembered our parents getting all dressed up on New Years Eve for their annual parties. So glad we came to the event you had for her a few years ago and got to look through the book of her drawings of costumes designed by her. We were aware of some of her other talents as well and thought we knew a celebrity. Such a humble loving mother. I can only imagine your pain of loss at this uncertain time. Hugs to you “Tammy & Toni” Tracy also. Love, Sherry Hall Kippen

  10. I took ballet, tap, toe, and every dance she taught. My senior year we did not have a dance recital as Brad ( her nephew) passed away. He was also a very good friend of mine.
    I grew up on 4th Street and her parents lived down the block from us.
    Dancing lessons were downtown until they built the home on 15th ave which was only a couple of blocks from where we lived.
    She taught me grace, confidence, the wonder of dance and music.
    When I dance wherever I will always think about her.
    Georgia Ells Bakkum

  11. I am so sorry to hear of your mothers passing. She was a remarkable person! Know that I am thinking of you during this trying time. My sincere condolences.

    Love, Lisa

  12. I remember being dragged to my sister’s dance recital by my Mom. Since my sister was a student of the Halbeisen Dance School. I have to admit I actually enjoyed it! Still have never understood how the girls could dance on their toes! That looked painful. I did not personally know Mrs. Blanich but my Mom & Sister were very impressed by her ability to teach dance.

  13. What a lovely lady and wonderful dancing teacher. She introduced so many of us to so many kinds of dance, tumbling , posture, music and appreciation for it all. I was in her very first dancing class at the age of 6 and took classes until I graduated from high school in 1959. I remember our spring recitals as being glorious. We could hardly wait to see her beautiful drawings of our costumes with little pieces of fabric attached to them. I remember the auditorium at Ben Franklin school being packed with people and being back stage waiting for people to help us with our costumes and applying our make-up. It was all so magical. My sisters Dee Ells and Georgia Ells also took dancing from her forever. I love thinking about it all. I hope there is someone like that out there making magical memories for big and little girls. BRAVO

  14. My earliest and most endearing memories are from dance classes with your mom. After 15 years of lessons the lasting impact on my life went far beyond learning physical discipline and coordination. Miss Halbeisen was a role model who led a successful professional life with the grace and poise that serves as an inspiration to all. No words can describe how sorry I am for your loss.

  15. Thinking of you Toni. Memories of your house after play parties in Junior High. My sister taking dance lessons from your mom when she was young. A great life lived. Hugs

  16. Goodbye to Miss Halbeisen. I have so many fond memories of her dance classes and especially the recitals. The most exciting day of the year was when she showed us the sketch of our costume for the upcoming recital. All my best to Tami and Toni.

  17. Nine young years spent with Miss Halbeisen learning ballet and tap. No wonder that I still hear her voice in my head. I think of those days often and still have a love of dance. Take a bow Bev and thank you for everything.

  18. I’m so sorry to here she has passed. I took ballet lessons from her in the 80’s, I’m very grateful to have known her. My sincere condolences, she was an amazing friend.

  19. I took ballet and tap at the Halbeisen school from 1965-1967. I was the 4 of diamonds in our recital of Alice in Wonderland. I have such fond memories! I so enjoyed her classes! My deepest condolences!

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