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Getting ready for the West Cape May Christmas Parade

For the past 34 years, dancers from Joanne Reagan Studios have performed in the West Cape May Christmas Parade. We stopped into the studio for a peek at this year’s practice and got the scoop from Joanne Horn and Anne Reagan about this year’s performance.

This year’s theme is “Nutcracker Christmas and the Four Realms.” Sixty dancers will perform a mix of ballet, jazz, gymnastics, hip hop, acting, singing, contortion, and adage. Dancers range from four years old to eighteen.

How long did they have to practice? “Three weeks to one month to learn and practice,” Joanne and Anne told us. “It totals approximately 30 hours.”

And it’s not just music and choreography they have to think about. Performing in the street brings its own set of challenges. They have to contend with schedules, getting dancers to the performance, sound, lighting, and props. “All of this also requires the total support from all of the parents and families and staff,” they told us.

The West Cape May Christmas Parade kicks off this Saturday, December 1st, at 5pm sharp in front of the WCM Fire House. It proceeds south from Broadway to Perry Street and continues on Carpenters Lane to Ocean Street. You can watch the dancers from Joanne Reagan Studios at the reviewing stand in West Cape May (near the West End Garage) and at various spots along the parade route.

Tips for attending the parade

  • If you’re driving in, arrive early due to traffic and parking. There will be a lot of congestion in West Cape May and the bridge may be inaccessible due to floats, so consider the main bridge.
  • Dress warmly. We recommend layers, hats, and gloves. Hand warmers are a good idea if you get cold easily! After dark, the sea air cuts right through you. Wear comfortable walking shoes, too!
  • There are limited restrooms available on the parade route, so please plan in advance. If you’re in the mall area, there are Comfort Stations.
  • There is a chance of rain this Saturday. If the parade is rained out, it will take place the next day. You can keep an eye on the parade’s Facebook page for updates.

 

Photos by Michelle Giorla