Brownsville Lopez dancer reflects on performing in Macy’s parade

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Jacqueline Silva of the Lopez Early College High School Golden Stars performed in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. (Courtesy photo)

Jacqueline Silva reached one of her long-term goals when she danced in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Silva, who is co-captain of the Lopez Early College High School Golden Stars, got to New York City on her own initiative. Porter’s Emile Perez also danced through the streets of Manhattan during the Macy’s parade.

“Since seventh grade it had been my goal to one day come out in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day performance,” Silva said.

She was able to do so by auditioning for the part.

“I recently found out you don’t have to be invited, that you can audition and that’s exactly what I did. I took the initiative and searched them up online and did a solo audition,” she said.

Silva, who fundraised to finance the trip to New York, said dancing in the Macy’s parade is more than just walking down the street amid giant balloons and marching bands.

“I feel like you have to have the initiative and the physical strength. It’s not like you’re going to go and just walk in the parade. You have to have the strength to withstand an eight hour practice where you’re in a building all day except for a lunch break, from 8 to 12 and 1 to 4,” she said.

“You also have to have the mentality of ‘Oh I can do this’ in situations where they’re changing choreography on you at the last minute. In my case … because of the training that I’ve had from my dance teachers I was able to change and was able to pick it up right away,” she said.

Silva said she also got to take in the Broadway play “And Juliet” as well as see a performance of the Radio City Rockettes.

She said her number one goal is to become a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, number two to become a Radio City Rockette and number three to become a Kilgore Rangerette.

The Rangerettes, from Kilgore, Texas, performed in the parade and Silva knows two of them, including a Brownsville Veterans Memorial alumna.

Silva said representing the Lopez Golden Stars “and all the girls that have yet to join it” was an honor.

“I hope that other girls that see that I and other girls from the Valley have done it and would love to do it one day,” she said.

Silva’s dancing career goes all the way back to Jubilee Livingway, where she was a cheerleader in kindergarten and first grade. She transferred to Vela Middle School and then Lopez.

“It has been a dream of mine also to go to Lopez High School and dance for Sandra Zauchora. She was there since my mom was there and I’ve heard multiple stories about her,” Silva said.

Her biggest take-away from the trip to New York was “to be able to go and show other girls that it was possible and show them that they can do it, too.”

Silva said she spends as many as five to six hours a day practicing dance technique, in her dance class, during the lunch hour and after school.

She also credited Mayra Vidal of the Masters of Movement Dance Institute.