Nov 29, 2011 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
If you watched the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade last Thursday on television, you probably saw Skaneateles native Rachael Scarr dancing live in front of the Macy’s storefront on 34th Street as she performed in one of the most famous parades in the world.
Scarr, a 2009 graduate of Skaneateles High School, danced with a group of Collaborative Arts Project 21 (CAP 21) students to the song “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” as performed by the “United We Sing” group.
“It was wonderful. It was a very quick experience,” Scarr said. “They rushed us on, turned on music then rushed us off because of the people behind us.”
Scarr, a Skaneateles native, has done numerous high school and local theater productions in the Skaneateles area.
“This is definitely where I found my love of theater. If I hadn’t gone to Skaneateles High School and gone through the drama program with the dedicated faculty I wouldn’t be here at NYU in the city doing what I love. They really cultivated our passion, they knew how to push us, build us up and make us feel confident in our love for theater,” Scarr said.
She also worked at Merry-Go-Round Playhouse in Auburn the first summer after her freshman college year at NYU in 2010, and performed in three Summerstock shows: “Promises, Promises,” “Meet Me in St. Louis” and “The Drowsy Chaperone.”
Scarr is now a junior in the CAP 21 musical theatre program in New York City, working towards her musical theater Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in drama.
“Theater is my passion,” Scarr said. “My goal is just to be an actress for a living, to make a living doing what I love. The dream is Broadway, but I know that won’t happen right away.”
Scarr and the other 23 CAP 21 dancers performed a partner swing dance in front of Macy’s on Thanksgiving, doing swings, lifts, splits, cartwheels onto their partners’ laps, and dancing around a float in shape of a drum. They all wore khakis and sweaters in a 1940s-era college look.
Scarr wore a light blue sweater, and her partner, Andrew Martin, wore a dark blue sweater. They started the dance on the left side of the area, crossed to right side then came out in front off-camera. They ended in the back left corner.
In preparation for the parade, the dancers rehearsed every night for three hours the entire week before the performance. Rehearsal was the Monday before Thanksgiving, during which they had five minutes to practice in the street, get used to the dance space they were to perform in and also see all cameras set up that would be filming.
The performance lasted for 90 seconds.
“It went very well. It was a whirlwind,” Scarr said. “I am really glad we did so much rehearsing.”
But while dancing live on television was exciting, the “really cool part” was walking in the parade, Scarr said.
She arrived at Central Park West at 7:30 a.m. to line up, and started walking with her fellow CAP 21 dancers at 9:30 a.m., right behind the Heritage Float, which had famous cartoon characters of the past like Barney, the Pink Panther and Arthur.
They walked from 81st Street to 34th Street — for nearly two hours before their performance, which occurred at 11:10 a.m.
“My favorite was the balconies filled with people,” Scarr said. “There were people in their apartments, looking out windows and waving; the streets were lined with people; you’re waving at them, saying ‘Happy Thanksgiving!’ It was a really cool tradition to be a part of. The energy was really high.”
New York City officials estimated about 3.6 million people in the streets that day.
“It was definitely a dream come true to walk in the parade,” Scarr said.
Scarr’s performance with Cap 21 in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade can be watched on YouTube by searching for “CAP 21 dance in thanksgiving day parade.”
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.