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Tampa dance studio takes it to the streets to prepare for Gasparilla Children’s Parade

Brucie Klay Dance Center.png
Posted at 6:04 AM, Jan 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-21 15:32:46-05

TAMPA, Fla. — It’s quite the experience watching the Gasparilla Children’s Parade, but for the boys and girls who are actually performing, it’s a day they’ll never forget.

If it’s the last week of January in Tampa, you’re not a dancer, you’re a pirate, according to Brucie Klay Boonstoppel.

“Coaching on how to look like you are really holding a sword like you’re really coming after people,” said Boonstoppel.

She's been captaining her dancers through the Gasparilla Children’s Parade for the past 20 years.

She said it’s important to get the crew ready for the parade atmosphere, which means out of the studio and into the street.

“It is a reward, I mean who gets to march, the kids that are working hard and not going to a birthday party but coming to practice,” said Boonstoppel.

These performers know there will be thousands of people watching their every move.

“It’s exciting, you get to see them and then they get to see you doing what you love to do so it’s fun,” said dancer Tallulah Powers.

These sparkly red shoed swashbucklers know Bayshore Boulevard is not your average stage.

“People can see you from all angles not just from the front so you have to be smiling the whole time,” said dancer Ava Boonstoppel.

While most dance routines last a few minutes, the parade will last hours.

“The biggest obstacle is the beads on the ground so you don’t literally trip over them,” said Boonstoppel.

Just like the end of a good pirate movie, there’s usually some sort of treasure awaiting.

“Being able to eat the funnel cake afterward with my friends," said Powers.

“Treat it like a badge getting to the end because it is hard, some of these kids are only 8-years-old so it’s a long route if you are walking it,” said Boonstoppel.