IRMO, S.C. (WIS) - With the Thanksgiving holiday right around the corner, many make it a tradition to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and this year viewers will see some familiar faces from the Midlands.
A group of about 75 girls from the Dance Department in Irmo will perform in the parade this year. The dancers are girls ranging in age from 13 to 18.
Lauren Metts, Dance Department owner and director, said the dancers were selected through an application and video audition process through Spirit of America Productions.
"These young ladies were selected to be part of the Spirit of America dance team. This year they will be bringing in Santa, so they will be on TV around 11:45 (a.m.),” Metts said. “It’s just such an iconic thing. Everybody knows about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, it’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime things to participate in.”
The dancers take classes at the Dance Department studio every week. The rehearsals for this production began in October.
“I’m very dedicated,” Gracie Hine, a 17-year-old dancer, said. “I’m so excited, I mean we’ve been working really hard by ourselves, in groups, all of us here together -- we’ve really put a lot into it.”
Metts added: “They’ve had to work together. It’s not a solo dance they have to be perfectly in unison, you know it’s a very Rockette-inspired performance.”
Once they get to New York, they will rehearse with other dancers from across the country for three days before the run through in Herald Square on Monday evening. Then they will rehearse for two more days before the performance on Nov. 28, according to Metts.
“It’s crazy because we’ve been getting ready, getting ready, and now it’s here,” McCullough Dawsey, an 18-year-old dancer, said.
The experience for many goes beyond dancing.
“People don’t know where Irmo is, especially not up north,” Hine said. “So to be able to represent such a faraway land for them will be really cool.”
The dancers leave on Nov. 23 to go to NYC and get to spend the week in the big city -- coming back to Columbia on Nov. 29.
Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on WIS and NBC on Thanksgiving Day from 9 a.m. to noon. For those who miss anything, the parade will air again from 2 to 5 p.m.