Seniors dance in Macy’s 84th Annual Parade

Seniors dance in Macy’s 84th Annual Parade

Ms. Stefanie Rotolo

Taylor Trayner, Marianna Sotomayor, Savannah Carpenter, and Jacqueline Colina bundle up for chilly Manhattan weather.

Marianna Sotomayor, Political Editor

Four members of the Academy Dance Team shared Thanksgiving memories to last a lifetime as part of the “Spirit of America Varsity Team.”

Senior Jaguarettes Savannah Carpenter, Jacqueline Colina, Marianna Sotomayor and Taylor Trayner participated in the 84th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®! The girls received the invitation at Universal Dance Association camp where they competed for this honor over the summer.

The girls left early for New York City, Saturday, November 20, with a celebrity welcome by the Jet Blue airplane crew and passengers. Upon arrival, the girls joined 746 other captains and co-captains from around the nation to practice their “Summer Fun” Beach Boys routine. All the effort put into the intense two day practice paid off, for the girls were treated to a shopping spree in Times Square. Hypnotized by the heavenly four- story Forever 21 and shocked by the city’s splendor, the group realized that they were in for an eventful week.

Although the temperature was cold compared to Florida’s hot winter weather, nothing could stop the girls from exploring the city, including Midtown and Broadway.  The girls were not only given the opportunity to sit fifth row at Billy Elliot, but were also acknowledged by the cast members themselves. Broadway was not the last stop for the seniors to witness performances, for they were also privileged to watch the Rockette’s Christmas Spectacular at the famed Radio City Music Hall.

The most memorable day of the trip was on Tuesday when the girls took the opportunity to roam around the city. Taylor Trayner recounts the day,  “We went shopping on Fifth Avenue, took pictures with a hot Hollister model, went ice-skating in Central Park, and to top off the perfect day, bought frozen hot-chocolates at Dylan’s Candy Bar and visited the Empire State Building.”

The days before the Parade, Academy dancers practiced with the other 750 girls on their team  in front of Herald Square and previewed other parade performances including Kanye West’s.

On Thanksgiving Day the girls rose at four in the morning in order to physically prepare themselves for the three-mile walk in NYC’s 40-degree weather.  In order to make it to Central Park for the beginning of the Parade, the girls had to, unexpectedly, run about 15 blocks to catch the nearest subway.

Such an experience left most girls cold and out of breath, but for Trayner, that moment was her favorite. “After waiting for the subway for 30 minutes, we not only realized it was not coming, but also realized that the Parade was minutes from starting. As a result, all 750 of us had to sprint 20 blocks in the freezing cold. The crowds helped by cheering us on and encouraging us to keep running.”

Once arriving at Central Park, the girls followed right behind Jimmy Fallon and the Roots and Mickey Mouse onto the Parade route. Although it was very cold, all Macy’s cheer participants kept warm by chanting “We Love N.Y.C!” and “Let’s Go Macy’s!” to rile up the crowd that spread high into the tall apartment buildings.

Promptly arriving at Herald Square at the heart of Macy’s, the seniors began to perform the routine they had een practicing for months. As quickly as the cameras swerved above and around their heads, the performance reached its ending on a high note.

“Performing on national television and in front of millions of people was exhilarating,” commented senior Jacqui Colina. “Although practices were intense and sometimes aggravating, the chance to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is something I will always treasure.”

Similarly, Taylor Trayner advocates that what made her experience so special “were the people. Sharing a hotel room and getting to know the girls in a non-classroom environment caused me to see their true personalities which allowed me to be myself.”

As for myself, I could easily say that the Macy’s experience was one of my best and most memorable moments to date. Cheering all the way down Seventh Avenue , witnessing many bundled individuals waiting to get a glimpse of the American tradition, I realized how special this opportunity truly was.

Unless I begin to sing like Mariah Carey, such an opportunity will may never occur again in my life! Resulting from this thought, I took full advantage of the moment in different ways. For example, I took mental snapshots of the ever-changing scenery, especially walking down the historic Seventh Avenue and Times Square, because I thought “Hey there are very few people who can say they’ve seen this angle of Seventh Avenue without getting hit by a taxi!”

Living in the moment made me forget all the deadlines and commitments back home, which coincidentally made me enjoy the Macy’s experience so much more. Not only that, but it made me realize that the simplest things in life, such as spending Thanksgiving dinner with my family and closest friends, are the true importance of life.