Park City High School sophomore participates in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade |

Park City High School sophomore participates in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade

When audiences watch Park City High School’s production of the musical "Guys and Dolls," they will see sophomore Susie Carroll as a hot-box dancer.

Although Carroll doesn’t have a large role in the production, she just returned from the biggest experience of her life dancing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.

She was one of 136 dancers who were selected for the event.

The dance was culled from the Christmas musical "Yes, Virginia, based on the story "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus, which was an actual editorial response to a letter written to the New York Sun in 1897 by eight-year old Virginia O’Hanlon.

The dancing served as the finale that welcomed Santa Claus to New York, and Carroll said the experience was "incredible."

"We got to walk the whole parade, which is about 50 blocks long, and we waved to everyone until we got to a star in the road where we would have to start dancing," Carroll said. "It was great, because that’s where the NBC-TV cameras started filming us."

Carroll and her colleagues weren’t just dancing for the cameras, but also for the victims of Superstorm Sandy.

"Macy’s had bussed in people from the shelters and set them up right behind the cameras so they could watch us perform," said Carroll, whose favorite musical is Laurence O’Keefe and Neil Benjamin’s 2010 hit "Legally Blonde."

Prior to the parade, the department store’s representatives gave a presentation for the dancers to show how important the parade has been in the past and how much more important it was this year.

"Macy’s required us to wear a red cross over our hearts for the victims, which gave our experience an extra touch," Carroll said.

Carroll and the other 135 dancers were selected for the parade through Stagedoor Manor, a summer musical theatre camp in Loch Sheldrake, N.Y., which has a performance contract with Macy’s.

The Park City resident attended her first camp last summer and answered an email to audition and submit and application for the parade.

Carroll, who started acting at the Egyptian Theatre in "Seussical the Musical," arrived with her family in New York three days before Thanksgiving.

She and the other dancers rehearsed in a New York studio from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

"It was really intense, because it was straight dancing all day long," Carroll said. "But it was a great experience, not only because we were in New York, but there were kids from all over the world, from London and Canada, in the group."

Carroll, who takes dance at Dance Tech Studios and voice from Salt Lake City-based vocal teacher Dean Kaelin, felt at home, because she has been dancing since she was a toddler.

"I have a passion for performing," she said. "I know it’s a hard business, and there are some days I want to give up, because there are so many others who are going for the same thing I am, but I just have this burning desire to continue doing it."