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Shen dance team to have a very Disney Christmas

Shen dance team performs in parade that will air on ABC

Disney's Christmas Day Parade has been a holiday tradition for 26 years, and this year there will be some local faces in the mix.

The Shenendehowa Dance Team was invited to dance alongside dancers and cheerleaders from across the country and will appear in two separate portions of the event, which airs on ABC Christmas morning. The traveled to Orlando, Fla., for the parade, which is taped weeks in advance.

Coach Amy Preston said the invitation to participate was exciting and rewarding, both for her as a coach and for the 17 dancers. It came about with plenty of hard work.

The dance team took part in a three-day training program over the summer with the National Dance Alliance, which they always do. I had a number of girls earn All American dance awards and then we received this full team invitation to perform in the parade with the National Cheerleaders Association and National Dance Association, said Preston, who said her girls performed alongside about 300 others in two mass performance segments. "They sent us the choreography about two weeks in advance on DVD and we had to learn it. When we got there, they told us that for the opening number we would be dancing with the Jonas Brothers. The main performance was in the parade itself."

For the opening sequence, the girls danced in street clothes. While most of them were a bit older than typical Jonas Brothers fans, they were still excited to be performing with a famous group of musicians. The team also saw Kelly Ripa, who is hosting this year's parade, and Nick Cannon.

Preston said that while the experience was exciting and fun, it was also a ton of work. The girls underwent hours of rehearsals and got to see first-hand what it takes to put together a television production. What surprised them was that while the parade looks like it's one fluid entity on TV, it's actually taped in several different segments over the course of a few weeks and then put together.

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