Photo by Diane Cox
Members of the Marquette Catholic High School dance team who will perform in the London New Year’s Day parade include (from left) Sarah Harnetiaux, Caroline Warren, Julianne Fears and Maddie Wiemers.
ALTON — The Marquette Catholic High School Explorers dance team has something to celebrate, as four members have been chosen to perform in the London New Year’s Day parade.
Seniors Julianne Fears and Caroline Warren, along with junior Maddie Wiemers and sophomore Sarah Harnetiaux, auditioned and were selected during the June Universal Dance Association summer camp to perform in front of an estimated audience of more than 20 million in London.
“Each girl on the team auditioned and I’m extremely proud that four of them were selected to go to London,” dance coach Casey Hamberg said. “As a team we are thrilled they have this opportunity and will represent Marquette High School. It’s very exciting for them and I know they will do great.”
The team will leave Dec. 26 for London and return Jan. 2 after the New Year’s Day performance. During the trip, the girls will be in escorted groups to visit landmarks such as Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and perhaps witness the changing of the guard.
“This is a really cool experience, especially for us seniors,” Fears said. “This is almost like a send-off from Marquette for us. I don’t know when or if anyone from our dance team has been chosen to do this before, so this is giving us the chance to leave high school with a big bang, for sure.”
The 10,000 dancers chosen from across the country were responsible for the cost of the London trip and the Marquette students thanked their families for supporting the opportunity.
“Our parents and grandparents really made it possible for us to go and we are so thankful,” Warren said. “But you know we heard the words ‘merry Christmas, happy birthday and congrats on your graduation’ as those payments were being made. We couldn’t really do any fundraising for this trip because we are individuals and not going as a team.”
The dancers were provided a uniform and a DVD to learn the routine before their trip. They will have one rehearsal day with their performance group before the parade.
The team is seeking a new coach for the 2016-2017 term. Hamberg asked anyone interested in applying for the position to contact the school at (618) 463-0580.