Donna Prothro and her dancers had good reason to be excited last week.
The Dancer’s Workshop was abuzz with excitement as Prothro and her dancers prepared to spend Thanksgiving week in New York City in the lead-up to a performance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
This will be Prothro’s second group of young ladies to perform. Another group performed in 2014. Both times, Prothro sent a video of the students’ recital to Spirit of America Productions.
And as in 2014, participants this year will perform in the “dance performance” portion of the parade, which consists of various dancers from throughout the nation who were selected by the production company to march and dance in the annual parade.
During their final rehearsal last week before leaving, students listened as their instructor went over details of their upcoming trip for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“They pick several dancing schools throughout the United States to go on this trip and we were one of the dance groups that were chosen,” Prothro said. “The girls have to be between the ages of 14 and 18 to be chosen so I asked the girls who danced for me if they would like to participate, and they accepted. So, we will spend a week in New York, leaving the Saturday before Thanksgiving and returning the following Friday.”
Tori Goff is one of the dancers returning to New York in 2016.
“I first went on the trip my eighth-grade year in 2014, so this will be the second time in New York,” she said. “I told the girls that I dance with how much fun it was when I first went. I loved the Broadway shows, because, you know, we’re dancers. It’s fun to see the different types of dancers that the city has.”
This trip will be the first for Elizabeth McInnis.
“Being able to dance on the big Macy’s Star is going to be a great experience for me,” she said. “At first, my mom told me it would be too expensive to go to New York; then she became excited when I told her I would be able to stay for a full week and enjoy all the New York experiences that I wouldn’t be able to experience had it not been for this trip. It’s nice to know that my school friends were excited for me when they found out, also our sponsors have been really supportive of us.”
Other dancers attending include Hardy Goff, Olivia Williams, Kelsey Wheeler, Karley Brown, Lanie-Grace Powell, Kenya Cogdill, Adelaide Ard, Abby Richburg, Anna Richburg, Madison Lew, Katelyn Beasley and Riley Floyd.
The trip includes the 2.5-mile parade route through New York City, which begins at Central Park and ends in front of Macy’s Department Store. The parade is annually televised on NBC.
Upon their arrival, performers attended an orientation before being ushered to their hotel rooms; each day winds down with another rehearsal. Monday will include a lunch in Times Square, followed by a Broadway show and dinner in Times Square.
Dancers will also join groups for a Statue of Liberty harbor cruise; visit the Sept. 11 Memorial Museum; attend the Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular; visit the Empire State Building; and ice skate at the Rockefeller Center.
The dancers will have the opportunity of entertaining their parents in the Grand Ballroom during the week, and the final day will include rehearsals before going to their line-of-march to participate in the 89th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
To watch, tune into NBC at 9 a.m. Thursday. The dancers from Manning are said to be shown at 10:58 a.m. The parade ends at noon.