DANVILLE, Ill. (WAND) — Like anyone, Conley Bateman is excited to visit New York City.
"We have done a ton of sightseeing while I'm here," she said. "We saw...the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 memorial, the Empire State Building — everything."
But she's not there to just see the sights. The 2021 graduate from the Schlarman Academy in Danville is there to perform during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
She has been practicing for five to eight hours a day for much of the past week, working with her fellow dancers to perfect their routine. For Bateman, this is a performance two years in the making.
"My old coach actually [performed in the parade] when she was in high school," Bateman said. "We filmed an audition video, sent it in and we got accepted. But then it ended up getting canceled due to COVID."
The 2020 parade slimmed down many of the performances to improve safety prior to the vaccine. Bateman's participation with the Spirit of America Dance Stars was ultimately cut.
But the 2021 program allowed high school graduates who missed their chance their senior year to still get their moment. That gave Bateman one more shot to chase her dream in front of millions.
"[I really looking forward to] walking the parade route," she said. "We get to walk the entire parade route which is awesome."
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade airs at 9 a.m. Thanksgiving morning on WAND-TV.
"I'm really excited," Bateman said with a smile after practice. "I'm really happy everyone is excited for me."