‘It doesn’t even feel real:’ McLennan Community College Dance Company practicing in the Big Apple for debut in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 11:09 AM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The McLennan Community College Dance Company is spending the week in New York City to practice final run-throughs before their debut performing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“Honestly, for me, it doesn’t even feel real yet,” Captain Kaylee Lynch said.

The MCC Dance Company has made their dreams reality for many years, winning over 10 national titles. This year, they are taking their talents to the national stage by parading down Sixth Avenue on Thanksgiving Day.

“I feel honored being able to get invited to go do this because I actually have been in New York watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and, actually being able to be in it, it’s just like everyone thinks it’s so cool, and I’m like, ‘yeah, it is cool,’” third-year member, Emma Johnson, said.

The coaches said the Spirit of America Dance Stars, which has been a part of the parade since 1986, invited MCC Dance Company to join hundreds of other talented dancers in performing for the parade.

“This is the second year that they’ve started to invite college teams, and we were simply asked...the admin approved it and we were super excited to be able to tell the team,” Head Coach Ashlee Keyes said. “That was pretty exciting.”

They have practiced for the parade on top of practicing for a busy competition season. They learned a routine that the Spirit of America group sent to the team. It is a pom pom routine with a mixture of different American-themed songs.

Because they are parading with a group of hundreds of performers, it may be challenging to spot the MCC dancers. They will be wearing matching red, white and blue uniforms; however, when you see Spirit of America Dance Stars performing on Thursday on TV, you’ll see some MCC dancers.

The dancers are still proud to represent MCC and all of Central Texas in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and the opportunity also includes a week of exploring NYC and visiting different tourist attractions as well.

“We’re super excited to be able to represent McLennan in the Big Apple,” Keyes said. “Throughout the year, we do numerous community events, so it’s nice to take the community to New York and to be able to represent Central Texas.”

There will also be a showcase of the many dance groups that will be parading with Spirit of America after the parade. At the showcase, MCC Dance Company will be able to perform one of their competition dances.

“We’re excited because it’s really going to narrow down what the MCC Dance Company is all about and what we can do skill-wise and just kind of put ourselves out there,” Keyes said. “Another good thing is a lot of the dancers are from Texas high schools, so it’s a great recruiting tool.”

The dancers are in New York for the week, waking up for early morning practices before the big day. But, most of all, the dancers are happy to be doing this experience as a team.

“Just makes me so happy to be able to go do that and have fun with the teammates and people that I love,” Lynch said.

The Spirit of America Dance Stars appear to be one of ten performance groups in the lineup. The website shows they are number seven in the performance group lineup.

You can watch the parade on CBS starting at 8 a.m. CT.