When she was younger, tap dancer and native New Yorker Claire Laing used to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from a hotel on the parade route. This year, Claire, now 15, will be on the other side of that window, dancing in the parade with the Tap City Youth Ensemble. The group will be performing Izzici, a South African gumboot dance choreographed by Molutsi Mogami. The piece features rhythmic clapping, singing and footwork, and is danced in rain boots--perfect for unpredictable parade weather!
In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, the ensemble has added extra rehearsals to prepare. "We need to build up our stamina," Claire says. The tappers will perform along the parade route and will also dance in front of Macy's in NYC's Herald Square, which will be broadcast to millions of viewers.
It's a big opportunity for a group of young dancers. (TCYE members are 12 to 21 years old). And for Claire, it will be a new perspective on a childhood memory. "I'm excited to see what it's like to actually be in the parade," she says, "as opposed to just watching it."
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?