When Aniston Royer and Riley O’Halloran were little girls, they watched with admiration as older girls at their dance studio prepared to live out a dream.
Every other year, performers from Jill Stanford Reeves’ Dance Center are selected to travel to New York City to participate in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
“I have been dreaming to go ever since my sister was in the parade,” Aniston said.
Both of the girls were hoping that one day they would be chosen to join hundreds of other talented teens for the televised show. Their dreams came true this year.
On Thursday, Aniston and Riley will be among the sea of smiling faces, proud to be representing their hometown.
“I can’t believe I will be in it now. It is going to be such an amazing experience and I can’t wait to meet new people and be a part of the Macy’s day parade,” Aniston said.
“I am so excited to perform at the parade. I watch the dancers in the parade every year with my family on Thanksgiving, and I never thought that I would be there performing as one of them,” she said. “It is surreal how I will be in the Macy’s day parade.”
The two, both 14, will travel to the Big Apple where they will learn the routine with dancers from across the country.
“My dream has always been to perform on broadway and I feel as if this is one step closer to helping me fulfill that dream,” Riley said.
The tradition started for Stanford way back in 1995. That’s when her school was at a national dance competition in Florida and received the prestigious invitation. It has remained open over the years for her dancers.
Reeves enjoys watching dozens of hard working girls live their dream.
“Since it is a once in a lifetime experience for the dancers, I tend to get a little emotional once the parade is over and we meet back at the hotel for a photo,” Reeves said.
“I know one day these students will share this unforgettable experience with their own children and grandchildren.”
She too keeps those special memories filed away in her heart and is looking forward to continuing the tradition this year.
“I have enjoyed keeping this tradition going for almost two decades now because, as a teacher and coach, I believe special opportunities like this help them grow into not only a better dancer but a better person as well,” Reeves said.