BLHS dancers New York bound
A few members of the Basehor-Linwood High School Dazzlers dance team have been practicing for more than the usual halftime performances and competition season.
Junior Nicole Stout and freshmen Taylor McKinley and Kristin Taylor will be packing their bags this week and heading off to New York Saturday to perform in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The girls qualified for the trip during the team's annual visit to summer camp in Emporia. The team learns several dances at camp, including an All-American routine. If the girls show excellent performance skills during camp, they will receive a red ribbon and then have the option of participating in the All-American routine auditions. If they make the All-American team or are receive honorable mention from the judges at the auditions, they are qualified for the New York trip.
While several other team members qualified including Maggie Herbster, senior and captain of the team, Erin Fisher, senior ,and Brooke Baumgartner, junior, Stout, McKinley and Taylor decided to make the trek.
"I had the opportunity and I didn't want to miss it," Stout said about her decision to travel to New York for a second time. "It's just amazing when you're in the parade."
Mike Miller and Associates prepares the more than 600 dancers and cheerleaders from all over the country who will be participating in this year's parade. The girls were sent costumes, a tape of the routine they will perform and red jackets they must wear during their visit. The week consists of two rehearsals a day, sightseeing and free time in the city, attending shows such as the Rockettes' Christmas Spectacular and a dance class with choreographer Frank Hatchett. The two freshmen dancers are excited about their first New York experience.
"The older girls made it sound fun," Taylor said. "I worked so hard to make All-American and I wanted to follow through with it."
"I probably won't get the opportunity to do this again," McKinley said.
The girls have also been spreading the word about their upcoming parade performance to family and friends. Stout said the girls will be wearing light blue costumes and will either be dancing with pompoms or a large snowflake prop to a "Jingle Bells remix." Dance team coach Juli Brown said NBC broadcasts the parade and stops to showcase the dancers.
"At the end of the parade, we stop at Herald's Square and perform," Stout said.
While the dancers hope for better parade weather than last year, they said a little cold, pouring rain would not dampen the experience.
"I just think, more than anything, that this truly is a once in a lifetime experience," Brown said. "It is one they'll never forget. There is nothing that can truly describe what it is like until you get there."