Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 18, 2011

Dancing dream: Local teens to march in Macy's parade

By TAMMIE TOLER
Princeton Times

PRINCETON — The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an annual tradition for Abbey Stafford and Madeline Collins, but they won’t watch the parade from the comfort of their homes this year. They’ll be dancing through New York City’s streets and into Herald Square with the rest of the stars, floats and celebration.

“It’s something that we’ve both always wanted to do,” Stafford said, explaining that the Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a part of her holiday celebration as long as she can remember. “Since I was probably elementary-school age, Mom and I have always talked about me wanting to do that when I got to high school, and I’m really excited about the opportunity.”

The captain and co-captain of the Princeton Senior High School Dance Team began their journey toward the Big Apple last summer, when they attended a Universal Dance Association camp at Wake Forest University. There, each captain and co-captain received an invitation to dance into the November parade that welcomes Santa Claus to New York.

But, dancing wasn’t the hardest thing they had to do. Stafford and Collins, and their families, had to decide quickly if they wanted to take part in the parade and start raising funds to make the trip.

“You had to hurry to decide,” Collins explained. “It wasn’t something that we could raise the funds for and then decide to go.”

So, the Stafford and Collins families began rallying their friends and supporters to secure sponsorship for the trip. Once that major hurdle was cleared, the girls started learning the routine they’ll complete once they reach New York City.

“They sent us a website that had an instruction video on it. We’ll learn that online, and when we get there, we’ll add more,” Stafford said.

“They’ll perfect the routine there,” Collins added.

Stafford, a PSHS senior, and Collins, a junior, will fly to New York Saturday, with their families. Upon arrival, they’ll receive their uniforms and embark on the dance workshops that will put the finishing touches on the parade routine that the girls described as a mix of jazz, pom and hip-hop styles.

Between dance workshops and instruction seminars, parade participants will get a chance to see the sights of New York City. That’s an exciting possibility, but it is the chance for new friendships and big memories that have them eager to set out.

“I really look forward to being with all those thousands of other girls and dancing with them,” Collins said, her eyes shining and a bright smile on her face.

While the routine that they will dance in the parade is somewhat new, dancing has long been an important part of their lives. Both girls lead the Princeton Senior High School Dance Team, and they are essential parts of the Princeton Performing Arts Company, an elite performance group at Princeton Dance Studio.

— Contact Tammie Toler at ttoler@ptonline.net.