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Local dance studio performs in Thanksgiving Day parade

    Courtesy Wyatt Higginbotham
    Parade preparation: Dancers at the Betsy Daily School of Preforming Arts rehearse for their Thanksgiving Day parade performance. Preparation for the parade began in early August.

    By Isabelle Emmanuel, Staff Reporter

    On Thanksgiving morning, Betsy Daily and her dancers were preoccupied with preparing for one of their biggest performances of the year, the 6abc Dunkin’ Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 23.

    The day began early for the dancers, as they had to travel to Philadelphia to perform. Daily and her dancers reported to the parade at 6:30 a.m., meaning they had to wake up around 3 a.m. to prepare costumes and makeup and take the bus to the city.

    Betsy Daily is the founder and a dance teacher at the Betsy Daily School of Performing Arts in Berwyn. Daily has competed in dance competitions almost all of her life and started her dance teaching career in 1973. Daily said that the event allows the dancers to form connections with each other.

    “The experience is just wonderful,” Daily said. “We go in buses down there, and we hang around while we’re waiting for all the productions to happen, and it’s exciting. The kids form quite a camaraderie. They help each other get their costumes on, and it’s so good to be with other performers, doing the same things and enjoying the celebration of Thanksgiving.”

    The team had five productions in the parade, including a dance number accompanying singer Ashlee Keating performing a cover of “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.” The team performed more productions this year than in the six prior years it performed at the parade.

    The team started practicing choreography for the parade in the beginning of August with two-hour practices on weekdays in addition to weekend practices. Sophomore Melina Franceski, a dancer at the Betsy Daily School of Performing Arts, performed in the parade for the fourth time this year and finds the experience valuable.

    “I think the Thanksgiving Day parade is really fun. It’s a cool experience, and I’m lucky that I joined Betsy Daily because it’s a very special thing that we are able to do,” Franceski said. “I take a lot of responsibility in making sure that I have the dances down well, so we make Betsy proud.”

    The parade lasted three and a half hours, from 8:30 a.m. to noon p.m.  Daily believes the parade is impactful for her dance team.

    “It’s an all-around great experience, and not only if they’re not going to be professional dancers. They get to be part of a team, come to rehearsals, memorize their choreography, and when they’re dancing, they get to perform for an audience,” Daily said. “They’re just getting so much experience which is very important. I always say the performances are probably the best experience you can get because you’ve got a live audience and you’re performing to everybody.”

    Isabelle Emmanuel can be reached at [email protected].

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    About the Contributor
    Isabelle Emmanuel
    Isabelle Emmanuel, Staff Reporter
    Isabelle Emmanuel is a sophomore and Staff Reporter for The Spoke. She has covered topics in the News and T/E Life sections. Outside of The Spoke, she enjoys playing tennis.