Four EA students performed in the annual Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade held on the Ben Franklin Parkway on Thanksgiving morning.
Charley Harrar '23, Ryan Harrar '27, and Rachel Lederman '24 performed with the Betsy Daily School of the Performing Arts.
"Charley and I were dancers in the opening ceremony and the finale of the parade," explained Rachel. "We danced alongside many other amazing dance studios, incredible performers (Bianca Ryan and Billy Flannigan), and many marching bands, choirs, and professional dancers."
"I got an amazing opportunity to dance next and around the singer, Bianca Ryan. It was such an amazing experience to be chosen for this special part," said Charley. "Right before I begin, I take a deep breath and remember that this is an experience of a lifetime and I am beyond excited to be dancing with these amazing actors and singers."
The dancers put in a lot of extra hours preparing for the parade, in addition to their regular dance schedules. "It was worth it," said Rachel. "The rehearsals are never as long as they seem due to exciting new dance steps, my best friends at my studio, and the excitement and memories that come on the day of the parade!"
Danielle Ridgeway '21 also performed with the Upper Darby Summer Stage Shooting Stars, dancing in the opening and final performances. "We perfected the spacing on the parkway with the other groups performing. The rehearsal time was definitely worth it!" said Danielle. "When performing, I become really focused on the choreography and having fun, so I usually don't get too nervous. During this performance, it was so surreal to see all the different moving parts around me while I was dancing, and it felt great to be a part of something special."
"We are immensely proud of these performers and all they have accomplished in addition to their busy lives at school," shared EA Dance Director Cara Lavallee.
"When I am dancing in front of big crowds or cameras I am nervous at first," shared Rachel. "I never want to let my teachers, friends, or myself down, and I never want to put everyone's hard work to waste. However, when the time comes to pre-set, I manage to clear my mind. I just make sure I have my biggest smile on, and I know the steps will come through muscle memory. Everything else just comes and goes in a blink when I dance, and it is sadly over before I know it."
This year marked the 100th anniversary of parade.
Charley, Ryan, and Rachel will continue to perform throughout the holiday season, including at the West Chester Christmas Parade on Friday, December 6.