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Baby Doll Ladies strutting in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

24th November 2014   ·   0 Comments

By Kelly Parker
Contributing Writer

The Beloved (New Orleans Society of Dance) NOSD’s Baby Doll Ladies have graced the streets of the Big Easy, performing at many New Orleans venues and parades. Now, they’re heading to the Big Apple to share creole culture and tradition with a new and larger audience.

Our very own Baby Doll Ladies have been chosen to participate in the 88th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, on Thursday, November 27; on a stage bigger than any other the celebrated group has taken. NOSD Ambassador and Artistic Director Millisia White is bursting with excitement.

“When I got the news, I was working on a production at the Convention Center; I almost ran out of the building!” she says. “And the girls were ecstatic! And quite proud; because I don’t think many people realize the amount of work and preparation and rehearsals—and what it takes as a professional dancer, and/or choreographer, and dance company. So for them, they can see the fruits of their labor. I’m just so happy to have us display our talents.”

“We auditioned and went through a very lengthy application process,” White told The Louisiana Weekly. We are honored to be one the chosen few to perform.”

From the 8,000 (total) participants, six performance groups were selected; that which includes the 16 dance company members that make up the Baby Doll Ladies and Music Ambassador, DJ Hektik.

When Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Creative Manager, Sara Flores saw them in action, she knew the Baby Doll Ladies were just the type of group to share with Macy’s parade viewers.

“Our performance group selection committee is committed to finding the most original and talented regional talent in the nation,” says Flores. “When we saw the Baby Doll Ladies’ application, we knew we had an opportunity to showcase a truly authentic New Orleans tradition in a modern spirit on a national stage. As proud as we are of all of our groups, opportunities like this rarely show up in such talented packages. We’re thrilled to have them join us and share their talents.”

With a live audience of more than 3.5 million and a nationwide television gathering of more than 50 million viewers, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the nation’s most beloved holiday pageant.

“This is an opportunity to share a little of our heritage with the world, but to also show that we are a professional dance company; we do apply choreographic works, so this is right up our alley-it’s our specialty.” White states.

The piece the viewers will see is a collaborative effort; with everyone in the dance company, along with D.J. Hektik contributing, according to White.

“And that makes it even more special’, she adds. “We know we’re going to bring New Orleans with us when we show up to Herald Square. We grow up watching this parade on TV, and say ‘I wish…one day-maybe, and then it happens!”

The performance that will take place at Herald Square is all about the spirit of New Orleans, White states, showcasing our Creole heritage of music and dance; featuring a remix of New Orleans second-line, brass band, and underground bounce music.

“We’ve got some jazz thrown in also, for our jazz lovers,” she adds. “We want to bring the essence, and the spirit of our people, and I feel like we’ll capture that.”

From its humble beginnings in 1924 to the breathtaking spectacular of today, the Macy’s Parade lineup unfolds each year in grand fashion. It’s not just a parade marching down an avenue; it is a march through tradition, history and popular culture.

The Baby Doll Ladies are the cultural torch carriers of city’s iconic Baby Dolls, who, of course have a celebrated history of their own; The Baby Dolls were the first street masking practice in the United States, dating back to 1912.

Since 2005, Millisia White’s group continues to “inspire the joy of life in the hearts of people through dance” just as the pioneers that masked a little over century ago did.

“We told Ms. Miriam’s (Batiste-Reed’s) daughter, and the family is just so proud.” White told The Louisiana Weekly.

Batiste-Reed is a descendent of one of the pioneering masking groups in Tremé; the daughter of Golden Slipper Baby Doll, Alma Trepagnier Batiste.

The 2014 Macy’s Thanks­giving Day Parade airs on NBC at 9 a.m.

This article originally published in the November 24, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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