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Local familiar faces appear at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

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Miyamura Patriette Dance Team performs in front of nationwide audience

Being on the outer edge of a parade line, high-fiving little kids as she marched by during the 65th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is something Miyamura Patriette Dance Team member Jadyn Slaughter will always cherish.

“It made me feel good because they all looked so happy and they were smiling and it was super fun,” Slaughter said.

Michelle Sanchez, the dance team’s coach, said it was an honor to watch her girls receive the opportunity to perform on a big national stage at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“Being from Gallup, not a lot of huge things like that happen. I was extremely proud of the girls and how hard they worked,” Michelle Sanchez said.

The team arrived in New York Nov. 19 and headed home Nov. 25, the day after the parade. In addition to performing in the parade, Michelle Sanchez said the Patriette’s engaged in all of the quintessential New York City activities, such as seeing a Broadway musical, MJ: The Musical; taking an elevator to the top of the Empire State Building; visiting the Statue of Liberty; and ice skating at Rockefeller Plaza.

Since her debut as the Patriette’s head coach four years ago, Michelle Sanchez has taken the team to New York three times.

She has been fortunate to experience some of those trips with her daughter Sophia Sanchez, who was a sophomore in high school when the team first went to New York.

Now a freshman at New Mexico State University, Sophia Sanchez had the chance to come on the trip to perform one last time.

“I can’t say that I have a favorite part because the whole trip was just amazing, because we were able to go to New York City and see all the things we’ve seen in movies in real life, and it’s just a really great experience,” she said. “Getting the chance to perform in a parade that is seen on national T.V. [was also a cool experience].”



The parade route stretches 2.5 miles, starting at West 77th Street and ending at Herald Square, right in front of Macy’s flagship department store.

The team had two days to practice their routine for the parade. Sophia Sanchez said they all had to learn the correct performance spacing so that things could run smoothly the day of the parade.

“I think the hardest thing was being able to get the spacing correct, making sure you don’t bump into everybody and having to do it really quick, because you don’t have a lot of time,” Sophia said.

Despite the preparations, there was one mishap. Senior Team Captain Kauhnilaiyah Kilgore told the Sun that when it came time for the girls to perform, the music came in at the wrong time, and initially the girls stood in place while they waited for it to restart at the beginning. Eventually, the team realized the music would not restart so they jumped into their routine to catch up as fast as they could.

Despite the mishap, Kilgore said she loved the experience.

“My favorite part [about being on the dance team] is my teammates and the relationships I’ve built with them,” Kilgore said. “I really love dancing, and I feel like with dance it gives me a second family. We all get along very well this year, and I feel like we’ve never bonded this close before, and I really appreciate that.”

By Molly Ann Howell
Sun Correspondent