Dance teams from Keller and Eaton high schools had an extra special winter break as the two squads traveled to California to dance and march in the Rose Parade Jan. 2.
The Indianettes and the Sapphires were among five drill teams from Texas selected to dance in the opening number for the parade by HTEDance, the company that won the contract to provide dancers. HTEDance sponsors contests and camps for dance teams.
“It was really exciting for our team to get to experience that and represent our high school,” said Presley Watson, an Indianette captain and KHS senior.
Chloe Pruitt, a Sapphire captain and Eaton junior, called it “a once in a lifetime” experience.
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Tami Prevett, who coaches the Sapphires, said her dancers worked hard to get to Pasadena. They learned the dance in the fall and worked up to walking six miles at a time so they would be in good shape for the parade. Students also raised money selling poinsettias and conducting a dance clinic.
Christie Panno, the Indianettes’ coach, said once the teams arrived in California, they had four rigorous rehearsal sessions, including one 12-hour day of practice. In and around those sessions, the girls found time to tour Universal Studios, take a double-decker bus tour of Hollywood and go to Santa Monica Beach and Pier.
Pruitt said one of her favorite parts of the experience was seeing the floats up close and all the detail with flower petals and seeds.
“You could even smell the roses,” she said. “You can’t get that on TV.”
Watson was amazed at all the people who camped out for two days to reserve their places on the parade route.
The day of the parade was both fun and grueling. After about two hours of sleep, dancers had a 1 a.m. call time and then road buses to the starting location for a rehearsal from 3-5 a.m. Next, they lined up in place to wait for the parade to start.
Pruitt said after the parade the squad changed clothes, went to the airport to travel back to Texas and went back to school the next day.
“At the end, when it was all said and done, they were all smiling, just beaming,” Prevett said. “They were so happy. They felt like mini celebrities.”