Brooke Smith is welcoming the new year in a way she will never forget.
The 15-year-old from Benton High School traveled across the pond to dance in the world famous London New Year’s Day Parade. Brooke, a member of Benton High’s Tiger Girls dance line, was one of more than 650 high school cheerleaders, dancers and drum majors from across the U.S. to represent Varsity Spirit in the parade.
London’s New Year’s Day Parade has evolved into one of the world’s great street spectaculars with up to 10,000 performers from across continents, hundreds of thousands of spectators, and a ‘live’ TV audience of several hundred million. In addition to performing in the parade, All-Americans celebrated the holidays European-style, with the chance to tour some of London’s most historic sites during their seven-day stay.
“I’ve always wanted to go to London,” Brooke said excitedly.
Individuals qualified for the trip after being selected as an All-American at one of the summer camps hosted by the United Spirit Association (USA), a Varsity Spirit brand. All-Americans are selected based on based superior cheerleading, dancing or band leadership skills at camp tryouts across the country.
Brooke started dancing at the age of three with Vicki’s School of Dance in Bossier City. Vicki’sin early December, which Smith said was good practice for the parade in London.
“It’s about two miles long and stopped to perform the dance we learned like 15 times,” she said. “We wore red, white and blue uniforms. The top is sparkly and we have blue jazz pants. My mom bought some Under Armour for me to wear under it because it’s cold over there.”
Brooke said she was excited to see some of Europe’s most famous landmarks – Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and St. Paul’s Cathedral…just to name a few – during group guided tours.
Brooke made the trip to London with her parents, brother and sister-in-law.