IRMO, S.C. — The Dance Department in Irmo will be strutting to the Big Apple next Thursday for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Lauren Metts owns the company and said, over the years, they've sent dancers about six times, but her experience with the parade goes back much further.
She spent years working as a choreographer for Spirit of America Productions, the company that brings performers from around the country to the parade each year.
"When I opened my studio I knew I wanted to make sure my dancers got the opportunity to experience that and so I've worked really hard to try to give them that opportunity," Metts said. "Any group that wants to participate has to submit an application, has to send video of their groups performing."
They'll be taking 70 dancers this year, performing to a rendition of 'Run Rudolph Run,' while dressed in holiday hues of red, green and brown.
"We’re excited that this group gets to go… and bring in Santa," Metts said. "You have to make sure that they are very precise and that every little pinky, every little toe is in exactly the same place.”
Mimi DeMasi, Addie Bates, Emma Graceciesielski, and Emily Root are all seniors at Dutch Fork and Spring Hill High Schools performing with the company in the parade.
“We’ve been practicing over the weekends and even in between classes just to make sure everyone has it perfect," DeMasi said.
“It’s a really big honor to be invited to this event, so just for us to be able to go with our best friends is super cool," Graceciesielski added, "...and I mean, I think, everyone can agree that the community is really proud of us and really excited to just share this with us.”
They'll join hundreds of dancers from around the country, bringing Midlands pride to the national stage.
“It’s once in a lifetime and make sure to watch us on TV," Graceciesielski said.
They leave for New York on Saturday.
Joining them in the spotlight will be the Benedict College Marching Tiger Band of Distinction.
The band has performed at parades across the state, college bowl games, and battle of the band competitions, and will join the star-studded line up on Thanksgiving Day.
The parade will kick off Thursday at 8:45 a.m. on NBC.