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Local jumpers jazz up Macy’s Parade

12/5/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Members of The Heartbeats, an Akron area competitive jump rope team, participated in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and their coach, Pam Evans, who is shown in the top row at far left, was the coach for the national team of jumpers.
Members of J.U.M.P., or Jumpers United for the Macy’s Parade, make their way through the parade route Nov. 28. Several local members of The Heartbeats jump rope team, such as Grace Berry, who is shown at front, participated and jumped rope nonstop for 3 miles.
Photos courtesy of Grace Berry
GREATER AKRON — Some local youths got a jump on the holidays with their appearance in last week’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The Nov. 28 spectacle featured members of local jump rope team The Heartbeats, along with dozens of other jumpers from around the country, as part of J.U.M.P., or Jumpers United for the Macy’s Parade.

Organized by Heartbeats coach Pam Evans, the project entailed recruiting the best jumpers to take part in the 3-mile parade.

The Akron team took part in the parade in 2008 and a year later returned with jumpers from all over. That’s what Evans decided to do again this year.

“We sent emails to teams throughout the U.S.,” she said. “At that point, we had 500 kids who wanted to do it.”

With spots for just 200 participants, team coaches were responsible for selecting their best jumpers based on competition scores, Evans said.

Representing the Akron area with The Heartbeats were Kassidy D’Annolfo, Grace Berry, Kayle Timura, Jessica Huang, Stephanie Hannah, Jacob Parsons, Morgan Parker, Brendan Kenehan, Ashley Gough, Sofie Christensen, Anthony Klein, Sydney Katz, Grace Huang, Jessica Dannery, Olivia Kern, Sydney Flynn, Isabella Troutman, Hayley Demchak, Jen Evans and Kayla Manney.

Heartbeats members Autumn Berry, Ryan Timura, Anna Herman and Greg Evans were marshals in the parade.

For Bath resident Grace Berry, the experience was a joy.

“It’s so exciting when you’re jumping down the street after all the work we’ve been preparing for months, and just to see how much fun all the jumpers are having,” said Grace, who was also in the parade in 2009.

She added that the effort took months of preparation, from learning the routines to practicing them and building up stamina needed for the jumpers to jump continually for the entire parade route.

“It was almost two hours of straight jumping,” she said.

In addition, 72 of the jumpers were featured in a 1-minute routine on Herald Square that was broadcast live to millions of viewers.

Evans said that jumpers from around the country learned the routine choreographed by The Heartbeats via YouTube and then came to Akron for a weekend in September to practice.

In addition, all of the youths spent the two days before the parade in New York practicing in cold, rainy weather.

The parade day was also quite chilly, Grace said, but it didn’t dampen her enthusiasm for the event. The Revere High School senior said she’d love to participate again someday.

“I’d love to,” she said. “It’s always fun to go.”

To see the routine, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMUMS-PB_3c. For more on The Heartbeats, go to www.theheartbeats.org.

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