Local girls dance their way into Macy’s parade

One young south Charlotte dancer and three other members of her dance studio, Dancers Unite Fine Arts Academy, spent their Thanksgiving day alongside thousands of people in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

Faith Kressner, from south Charlotte, and her friends Allie Andrews, Hannah Hernandez and Malena Wenning were the only students from the dance school to participate in the parade due to limited funding for the trip.

“Our whole studio was invited to dance in the Macy’s parade. Clearly it’s an expensive trip and these four are the ones who could afford to go,” studio co-owner Jo Emery said.  Emery co-owns Dancers Unite Fine Arts Academy with her two daughters, Julie and Elizabeth Emery.

Those in charge of finding dancers for the parade closely evaluated the studio for months before making their decision to invite the dancers to participate.  Dancers Unite Fine Arts Academy has already been invited to send dancers to the parade again next year.

“Dancers Unite is very proud to be invited to participate in America’s favorite Thanksgiving day parade,” Elizabeth Emery said in a press release.  “We know this will be a wonderful experience for these dancers.  Dancers Unite teenagers have already been invited to dance in the 2013 Macy’s parade.  We are hoping this can become a seasonal studio tradition.”

In order to send more students to New York City for next year’s parade, the dance studio continues to hold fundraisers fo.r traveling expenses.

Currently the dancers are selling the book “GoPlaySave” and holding yard sales.  The next yard sale has not yet been planned.

Also, one student has been selling jewelry at the dance studio, 220 E. Park Ave., in Charlotte.

To learn the choreography for the parade, the dancers were sent a YouTube video and spent their first couple of days in New York City in rehearsals.

Kressner, 15, said she did not know what to expect when she traveled to New York City even though she has taken dance classes since she was 3 years old and goes to competitions in tap and ballet regularly.

“At first I don’t think I realized how big of a deal it was until we got to New York; it was pretty amazing,” she said.

Learning the jazz choreography was the most difficult part for Kressner, with tap and ballet being  more her expertise.  The Charlotte Catholic freshman doesn’t know if she plans to dance after high school, but for now is “dancing for herself.”

Kressner and her fellow dancers spent the whole week of Thanksgiving in New York City going to rehearsals, watching a Broadway musical and the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, sightseeing and taking a shopping trip to Macy’s.

Although she does not know if she will return to New York City next year, Kressner said her time in the parade is one she will never forget.

“It was like once in a lifetime,” she said. “It was really worth it.”

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