Eagles Shine In UF Homecoming Parade

By Shailey Klein

On Friday, Oct. 4, Oak Hall seniors, Emma Anderson, Natalie Saliwanchik, and Allison Potapow participated in the University of Florida Homecoming Parade, with Danscompany of Gainesville. The three dancers are members of the cast of the annual production of Cinderella, which is coming to the Phillips Center at the University of Florida Dec. 14. 

Anderson, Saliwanchik, and Potapow are all playing one of the six main roles, performing as the Winter Fairy, the Spring Fairy and the Summer Fairy, respectively. Every year, Danscompany of Gainesville participates in the annual homecoming parade with the main roles in Cinderella, riding on the float. 

Saliwanchik, who is performing as the Spring Fairy, loves engaging with residents of the Gainesville community through the homecoming parade. “Being able to see and interact with all the people in our community who are excited about dance and to see our float in the parade is something so fun to experience,” she said. “It is so heartwarming hearing all the little children yelling and waving at ‘the pretty ballerinas’ and seeing how happy it makes them,” she continued.

Anderson performed as Cinderella in the 2018 production of the show and is excited to return to the stage in another lead role, as the Winter Fairy. “I am so thankful to have the opportunity to perform two lead roles,” she exclaimed. As the parade ran through University Avenue, families lined the streets and young girls from the community watched the ballerinas in their costumes as they passed. “The most fun part of being in the homecoming parade is when all of the people in the crowd call out to you,” Anderson added.

Potapow mentioned that the best part of interacting with the young girls who look up to her is being able to set an example. “With lots of hard work and determination they can have that opportunity too,” Potapow encouraged. She loves interacting with the young girls because of the direct impact she can on them and whom they choose to be. “When my sister was Cinderella and when I was in eighth grade, I got to ride in the back of the truck and see the other dancers experience [the parade] first-hand. It really looked like a fun and cool experience that I wanted to be a part of one day,” Potapow stated.

In addition to these three Oak Hall seniors on the Danscompany of Gainesville float, Oak Hall also had a float in the parade, with the OHS cheerleaders. Varsity cheer captain Mason Johnson enjoys being able to spread Oak Hall spirit to the city, and always has a fun time participating in the parade. “It is always exciting to see everyone at the parade come together for such a fun day,” she said.