Two students from Tulsa’s Central High School will be participating in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

Senior Monique Goudeau and junior Daja Dyer will be performing as part of a large dance ensemble created for the parade by Spirit of America Productions.

The students were chosen after the Tulsa Central Diamonds, the school’s pom squad of which Goudeau and Dyer are members, took part in a special camp held during the summer in Norman.

“We were the only group from Tulsa Public schools to take part in the camp,” said Kilmyn Graf, one of the dance teachers at Central High School who oversees the Central Diamonds. “So they will be the only students from the greater Tulsa area to be taking part in this year’s parade.”

And getting the chance to be part of this experience is a dream come true — for their teacher.

“When I started here at Central in 2016, my dream was to have dancers take part in this experience,” Graf said. “I danced in the parade when I was in the 7th grade,” Graf said. “And it truly changed the trajectory of my life. It cemented the idea of becoming a professional dancer, and ultimately a dance educator.

“And the fact that, after just three years of our being a competitive team, we have two of our members chosen to be in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is such a huge honor,” she said. “I know this is going to be a very influential, eye-opening experience for them.”

This will be the first for Goudeau and Dyer to visit New York City. They left Tulsa on Saturday to begin preparations for the parade.

“We’re going to be doing a lot of practicing, pretty much every day,” Dyer said. “But we’re going to have some time to do sightseeing.”

That will include taking in a Broadway show — most likely the stage musical of “Frozen” — and a performance of the Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes. But otherwise, the two do not have any hard and fast ideas about what they want to do once they hit the Big Apple.

“I just want to experience all of it,” Goudeau said. “Well, I do want to go to the Macy’s store.”

“Oh, yeah!” Dyer said. “I may not even buy anything, I just want to see what it’s like.”

The dancers were given a video of the routine they will be performing in New York City, to help them prepare for the parade.

“To be honest, compared to what Ms. Graf has us do, this is going to be a piece of cake,” Goudeau said.

“It’s a lot of real showy, eye-catching movements that look good but aren’t all that hard to do,” Dyer said. “I think the hardest part for us is the chanting — there are phrases we have to say while we perform. That’s been the most difficult part of this performance to learn.”

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James D. Watts Jr.



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