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Thanksgiving Day - OHS Freshman Earns Spot In Macys Parade
Oakdale High Freshman Hope Kindred, 14, sporting the Spirit of America Performance Team jacket she will wear while visiting New York City. The teen, along with her dance group, will be one of the featured dancers in the 88th Annual Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. - photo by Contributed

The 2014 Thanksgiving Break is going to start just a bit early for Oakdale High School freshman Hope Kindred. The 14-year-old will be boarding a plane on the evening of Thursday, Nov. 20, but she will not be headed for a tropical family vacation. Hope will be boarding a red eye flight out of Sacramento with a final destination of New York City.

Once arriving in NYC her presence will be a bit different than many of the other tourists as she will be sporting an eye-catching bomber jacket embroidered with the words “Spirit of America Performance Team” on the back.

“Once we arrive in New York we have to wear this out at all times,” she said of the signature jacket.

Hope, along with a handful of fellow dancers from Deborah Morgan’s Dance Studio in Turlock, will be a featured performer in the 88th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The performance will be aired nationally on NBC Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 27. The broadcast begins at 9 a.m.

“This is going to be a once in a lifetime thing,” Hope said of first learning her studio was selected in the fall of 2013, “and I thought that I should go for it.”

This year marks the 11th year the teen has been dancing with the Turlock-based studio. The same studio her mother Brenda danced with as a child.

“I wouldn’t have her any other place,” Brenda said. “It’s funny because girls that I danced with now have their kids there.”

According to Brenda the studio applies for entry in the iconic parade every two to three years and then waits in hope of acceptance. Age range of the dancers traveling each time is between 14 and 19.

Hope began dancing at the age of 3½ studying tap and ballet under the guidance of instructor Wendy Cook. She spent a number of years in tap and jazz and has focused on ballet and pointe the last six years.

Her box of goodies via Spirit of America Productions arrived in October while she was at a scrapbooking fair with her mom in Sacramento.

“My dad texted us a photo of the box and I couldn’t wait to get home and open it,” she said.

Once home she was delighted to find her performance costume, the red jacket, a sweatshirt, lanyard and a number of other goodies for her NYC week.

Hope’s dance group will perform with an ensemble of an estimated 300 to 500 dancers from all over the United States. They have each been rehearsing the dance routine via on-line video. Group rehearsals will begin in NYC the Sunday before the parade.

Not to waste a moment of opportunity while in the Big Apple, an aggressive and fun-filled itinerary has been put in place for the touring dancers. An itinerary including four Broadway shows: Wicked, Cinderella, Aladdin, Phantom of the Opera, as well as watching the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall and tea at the plaza.

“It’s going to be amazing,” Hope said of her first trip to the east coast. “Honestly, I don’t even know what to expect. I’m staying really calm about it. Now it’s getting so close, I’m trying not to get too excited when I talk to people about it.”

“We are very proud of Hope,” her father, David Kindred shared, “and all of her accomplishments in dance, Guide dogs, 4-H, FFA, OHS Leadership and school.

“We’re so excited about this opportunity for her to go to New York, as this is truly a once in a lifetime experience.”

For her part, the performer is eager to put her best foot forward.

“I’m nervous about how it’s going to play out,” she admitted of the unconventional routine approach. “I don’t want to mess up the dance, but we’ll have so many practices I’m sure it will go perfectly.”

“As parents, we don’t have any apprehension about her traveling to NYC,” David continued. “She is going to get to experience something and someplace that we have never been. As a performer this is the biggest stage for her with 50 million people watching on TV and 3.5 million on the streets of New York. We are so excited and happy for her.”

With just a little over a week left, before bags are packed and nerves put on overdrive the 14-year-old is not only prepared but ready to take on the streets of New York.

“It’s cool because on this trip we’re all going to get to bond,” she said of herself and the other studio dancers. “I’m from Oakdale and most of them are from Turlock, so we’ll all really have time together.

“I just love the atmosphere that the dance studio puts out,” she continued. “I can’t ever think of stopping dance, because I love it there so much. It’s just all really exciting.”