On Thanksgiving, people gather with family and friends to take part in different holiday traditions centered around food and togetherness. Although, when it comes to entertainment on Thanksgiving Day, it’s safe to say that the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is on at least one TV in everyone’s house. This year, amidst the larger-than-life balloons and famous musical acts, three large performance groups got the opportunity of a lifetime to showcase their skills on one of the largest, most-watched programs of the year. Fred Astaire Dance Studios, the Spirit of America Dance Stars, and Spirit of America Cheer brought together performers from all over the United States to entertain millions of people during the 2018 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Fred Astaire Dance Studios (FADS) invited 38 professional ballroom dance couples, two couples from each region, to perform as a group in the parade. The dancers showed off some quick, simple steps as they walked throughout the parade route, followed by a full routine performance in front of Macy’s Herald Square. "This has been an American tradition for so many years and it feels like such a huge part of Thanksgiving for a lot of families across the country. I, myself, am a Russian immigrant, and this is an amazing opportunity to come together,” said Albina Habrle, FADS area director, to azcentral.com. The first Fred Astaire Dance Studio opened in 1947 in New York City, which made it even more special for this group to unite in the very place where Fred Astaire originated.
Every year, Spirit of America Productions produces two performances in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade- the Spirit of America Dance Stars performance and the Spirit of America Cheer performance. Performers for the parade are selected either by invitation and/or qualification through summer cheer and dance camps and award-winning teams.
This year’s Spirit of America Dance Stars consisted of the best dance talent from high schools and studios around the nation. All 550 teens, ages 14-18, united in New York City to represent the art of dance in the parade. "I grew up watching the parade. Ever since I started dance at three-years-old, I've always wanted to do it and be in it -- and now it's come true, my dream," said high school dancer Brittany Hicks to kten.com. The Spirit of America Cheer performance included 600 high school and all-star cheerleaders, ages 14-18. These groups together feature more than 1100 of the very best performers recruited from hometowns nationwide.
Days before Thanksgiving, the dancers and cheerleaders gather in New York City to rehearse their numbers as a group, ahead of their once-in-a-lifetime national spotlight. In addition to these groups, the parade also featured the world-famous Rockettes, and special talent performances from the Manhattan Youth Ballet and the Westchester Dance Artists.
Naturally, the famous musical artists and huge cartoon balloons catch spectators’ eyes, but I’m so glad the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade makes a conscience effort to include performance groups in its lineup. These performers work very hard all year, and essentially give up a holiday with their families, but in return they get to meet new friends and live out an experience of a lifetime.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!