CHICAGO, IL — A Naperville group will perform traditional Chinese dances and a group led by a Downers Grove woman will showcase their Scottish Highland dancing skills in the 2022 Chicago Thanksgiving Parade on State Street Thursday morning.
Huaxing Arts Group Deputy Director Vivian Thurston told Patch 15 dancers from the Naperville-based collective will perform a “Blooming Lotus” routine as they march downtown. The performance, which Thurston said will be “very beautiful, colorful and also expressive of the Chinese culture of dance,” will feature billowy silk fans, and bright green and red hues that represent different parts of a lotus.
Thurston said the dance, which incorporates traditional choreography from the eastern part of China, illustrates a story about young women cheering as a lotus flower blooms in summer, expressing “optimism and gratitude for the future harvest.”
The music features “upbeat notes but very tender, slow kind of beat,” she explained.
This isn’t the first time Huaxing Arts Group has been featured in Chicago’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. They performed in the parade in 2018 and 2019.
“We are very proud to be back to the stage again,” Thurston said, adding that the dancers have practiced the routine for hundreds of hours and are eager to share it.
She said, it is “very exciting for our group to present this dance to Chicago and be part of this iconic celebration of Thanksgiving.”
Another local group, Thistle and Heather Highland Dancers, has marched in the parade for more than three decades. The Riverside-based performance school was founded in 1981 by Nancy Strolle, who has been dancing since she was five years old.
Strolle, of Downers Grove, told Patch a bagpipe player will accompany 25 or so dancers that include both children and adults. Dressed in colorful Scottish tartan patterns, the group will perform lively choreography inspired by the country’s traditional dances.
The Chicago Scots Heather Queen and the Loch Ness monster will also join in the festivities.
“Everybody’s really excited about it,” Strolle said, adding that Chicago’s parade has become a Thanksgiving tradition for many of her dancers.
“For the kids it’s become a lot of what they do on Thanksgiving,” Strolle said. She added, “It’s those kind of memories that stick with you and it’s being part of the Chicago tradition that is really cool.”
The 2022 Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade steps off at 8 am from the intersection of State Street and Ida B. Wells Drive.