Parading Around the Big Apple

Two Eagle Dolls visit New York City to dance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade


Submitted Photo

Junior Annika Lindt and sophomore Katherine Stroud were invited through their summer dance camp to perform in the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade. Both girls are members of the Eagle Dolls.

Torin Steil, Staff Writer

Performing on national television isn’t an easy accomplishment. Many hours of practice and auditioning only for a chance to be invited. Despite this, many performers dream of having even a sliver of time on TV. This year, two of Decatur’s Eagle Dolls not only made their dream a reality, but danced in front of millions of viewers, both live and at home.

Junior Annika Lindt and sophomore Kathrine Stroud auditioned to dance with the Spirit of America Dance Stars in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. After their audition was accepted, both girls spent a week in New York City, rehearsing and seeing the sights of the city. Lindt and Stroud danced in the parade with around 600 other dancers from various high schools around the country. 

“We got chosen through our summer dance camp with the Eagle Dolls. We had a representative from a company called MA Dance who was able to give out invitations to the parade,” said Stroud. “The rehearsal schedule was nothing short of crazy. We rehearsed for about 21 hours before the parade. We had two dress rehearsals, one for NBC on 34th street in front of the Macy’s and one for our parents. We danced more than we slept, with some of our rehearsals going until 11 pm and waking up at 6 for the next one.”

With only a week to learn, practice and perfect a dance routine, Lindt and Stroud rehearsed long and hard to perform perfectly on Thanksgiving day. Although a long week without much sleep might not be ideal, the girls powered through and got as much out of it as they put in. 

“I feel more confident as a dancer after this experience, and I have also taken away friendships and dance tips after the week,” said Lindt. “One of the big things dance-wise I’d like to bring back to the dolls is the energy and determination that everybody had during the rehearsals. Even though we had a 5 hour rehearsal one night, nobody was complaining.”

Lindt and Stroud’s experience in New York City was brand new, and although they followed a strict rehearsal schedule, it allowed time for them to see the big attractions that any first time visitor wants to see.

“It was my first trip to New York! I actually thought I would hate it since I’m an introvert and I thought it’d be too many people, but I loved it! My favorite experience about the trip was the parade, of course, but also Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. The performance was absolutely gorgeous and it was a cool experience to have with my mom, who introduced me to Phantom of the Opera,” said Stroud.

The whole week was exciting for the girls, but it all led up to the parade, and specifically their dance performance. Lindt and Stroud’s dance group walked 50 streets with the rest of the parade before they started to dance.

“I arrived on the green concrete on 34th street already a little tired, but the second I saw the audience and heard the commentary from the news stations, I had the most energy and adrenaline pumping through my body that I’ve ever had,” said Stroud. “After the performance, I looked up at Annika and said ‘what just happened?’ because it went by so fast. Even through the cold and sleep deprivation, I wouldn’t have traded a second of it.”

 Many people travel to New York and love the city, but showing off your passion on national TV is a completely different experience. While viewers expect the giant balloons and celebrities every year, every performance group, like the Spirit of America Dance Stars, makes the Thanksgiving Day Parade the special event it has come to be.

“Katherine and I have been close for a long time, but it was a completely different experience to travel to New York with her and spend the week in rehearsals,” said Lindt. “I’m so glad we were able to go together and bond during this incredible opportunity.”