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Young dancer gets moment of fame at traditional Macy's parade
By Matt Stone

November 19, 2005

Hannah Shanken, 12, has always loved to perform, whether in school plays, singing or dancing.

Now she’s getting a chance to do what she enjoys on center stage, as she and Camp Broadway open the 79th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

Hannah, who attends Kyrene Aprende Middle School, heard about the opportunity after her mom, Laurie Shanken, saw a commercial for Camp Broadway on KTVK-TV, Channel 3.

The group, a theater arts education and audience-development company that has helped tens of thousands of children to work side-by-side with Broadway professionals, was holding auditions at ASU, one of 12 nationwide locations.

Hannah performed and is now one of 470 kids, ages 9-13, selected to perform in the parade.

While Camp Broadway has been involved in the parade for three consecutive years, this is the first time the performers have been bestowed the honor of being involved in the opening number. The performance will include a dance and the kids singing a song, “We Give Thanks Today,” written by off-Broadway composer Andrew Lippa.

With limited time to prepare, expectations were not very high for Hannah and her family.

“It was like two days before we found out. We walked in [that] morning and tried out,” said Hannah.

“It’s just one of those things that you take a chance—and it’s really fun,” said Laurie.

When hearing she had been chosen, excited was the only word to describe Hannah’s reaction.

“I was jumping up and down, so excited, screaming and stuff,” she said.

 The auditions pulled groups of 10 kids into a room where they were shown a routine and then had to repeat it. Hannah’s mother believes it was something extra that Hannah had that got her picked.

“She’s special in a way that she has energy and she’s a happy kid. To go in there cold turkey and to get to take your whole family to New York, it’s awesome. We think it’s pretty special,” Laurie said.

Traveling to the Big Apple for the first time, Hannah and her family will be uprooting their Turkey Day plans to conform to the parade’s schedule.

“It’s going to be a big family affair; we’re going to have thanksgiving dinner in New York,” said Laurie.

With the parade and so much excitement surrounding the holiday, this Thanksgiving will be one Hannah and the Shankens will remember for years to come.

The parade will air live on NBC from 7 to 10 a.m.

























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