WESTBROOK — The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a normal part of most people’s holiday.
Unless, of course, you’re performing in it.
A group of 13 local dancers has been chosen to be on the other side of the television screen this year. The teenagers from Westbrook’s Drouin Dance Center will be among 600 performers dancing in next week’s parade.
“Growing up, I always watched the parade on TV, so now getting to be in it is a once in a lifetime experience,” said Alexandra Ferrigan, 14, of Gorham.
Danielle Drouin, the dance center’s owner and director, said the production company behind the parade invited her to have dancers perform. Drouin Dance was chosen in 2011 and 2014 as well.
“It’s amazing, an amazing opportunity,” Drouin said. “It’s a great honor to be invited once again.”
Drouin chose the 13 girls based on their training and skill level and their work ethic. The performers, who range from 14 to 17 years old, include Ferrigan and Melanie Wright of Gorham; Katherine Axelsen, Emma Boucher, Hannah Coro, Hope Higgins, Amber Moxcey, Samantha Siewertsen and Megan Thibodeau, all of Westbrook; Jessica Brooks and Grace Foster of Windham; Meghan Dadiego of Portland; and Grace O’Mara of Scarborough.
The girls found out they were chosen in February, but couldn’t start rehearsing until October when they received the routine. For the past month they’ve been rehearsing and preparing two times a week. When they arrive in New York City on Nov. 18 they’ll go straight into a six-hour rehearsal with the 600 other dancers from around the country.
“I’m definitely excited,” Coro, 16, said. “I’m nervous because there will be a lot of people I don’t know, but it will be a great learning experience for performing.”
Drouin agrees the experience will be great for the girls and they’ll take a lot away from it.
“It’s a really big confidence boost for them,” she said. “They’re dancing in front of millions of people.”
Ferrigan said “the extent of this opportunity” has just hit her, while Coro said she doesn’t think it’ll hit her until she’s there. None of the girls performed in the parade when Drouin Dance went in the past and, for some of the girls, it will be their first time in New York City.
In addition to performing on Nov. 23, Drouin and the girls will take in the sights and see shows on Broadway.
“It’s a fun week,” Drouin said. “You can feel the energy the whole week.”
Coro said she’s looking forward to feeling that energy and dancing in such an iconic parade.
“The environment will definitely be different so I’m excited for that,” she said.
At a rehearsal last week the girls said they’re nervous about their upcoming trip, but are mostly excited. Ferrigan said having her friends there will help calm her nerves.
“I’m so excited to get to experience this with my absolute, hands down best friends,” she said.
Also, most of the girls’ families will be traveling to New York so they can see their daughters perform and spend Thanksgiving with them.
Drouin said despite the girls’ giddiness over getting to perform, they are serious when it comes to rehearsing and performing. She said they’ve been working hard to make themselves, and the dance center, proud.
“I think they realize what a big honor it is and they were really excited to be chosen,” Drouin said. “They’ve been working really hard and understand what a big undertaking this is. It’s definitely not lost on them at all.”
Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.
A group of 13 dancers from Drouin Dance Center have been chosen to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City on Nov. 23.