Mike Miller History
In the summer of 1986, Mike Miller secured the first opportunity for dancers to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. A few months later, 301 dance drill team officers from across the country representing NCA SUPERSTAR opened the 60th Anniversary Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. In 1989, a second production number was added for NCA cheerleaders. That Thanksgiving, it snowed in New York City and many Macy’s volunteers from surrounding areas were unable to get into the city due to the weather. The cheerleaders not only performed, but stepped in to serve as balloon handlers. Jean McFaddin, the parade director, was quoted as saying the cheerleaders had “saved the parade” that year.
Eventually, Mike left NCA SUPERSTAR to create Mike Miller & Associates Special Events.
In 1994, Universal Cheerleaders Association and Universal Dance Association were selected to provide performers in the parade. Varsity Spirit served as an integral part of the MMA family.
Over the years, our performers have stayed in different hotels in New York City. With space limitations, rehearsals were often challenging, requiring practice in everything from the Javitz Center to the USS Intrepid, to our now ample space at the New York Hilton Midtown. For many years the performers were transported to a parking lot outside the Macy’s Parade warehouse in Hoboken, New Jersey to give Macy’s and NBC an opportunity to preview the productions. Macy’s and NBC now have such confidence in the quality of our productions that we provide first viewing on Monday evening’s Herald Square rehearsal.
Mike went to great lengths to enhance his groups’ productions with props. Some of the more memorable props include: rocking horses, ladders, giant clown heads, wooden boxes, mechanical puppets, inflatable sky ticklers, American flags, musical instruments, candy canes, presents, snowflakes, life-size jails, stop signs, NYC taxis, smiley faces, skirts, skimmer hats, baseball hats, footballs, diamond rings, streamers, and, of course, poms. The most well known prop of all was a 6 level “cake” structure that held over 150 performers. These props have provided many stories including the prop truck getting stuck in the Holland Tunnel, plugging in electric ticklers in the pouring rain, and staff members carrying enormous clown heads down the streets of NYC.
Over the years, Mike has been recognized with many awards and honors for his contribution to the parade. He was the recipient of the 1989 Macy’s “Rolle” Award for Outstanding Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade contributions, the Director’s Award in 1994 and 1997, and the 20 Year Involvement Recognition Award in 2005. Finally in 2007, he received the Macy’s Special Achievement Award! His cheerleaders and dancers were the only performers who held a permanent berth in the parade besides Santa Claus and the Rockettes.
On December 17, 2007, Mike passed away shortly after his groups’ 22nd parade appearance. His spirit lives on through the continued success of the annual production numbers featured in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. His creativity, ingenuity, and inspiration provided the opportunity for over 22,000 dancers and cheerleaders to participate in a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience.
For those of you that have been a part of the Mike Miller magic, we welcome you back!
If this is your first time, get ready to create exciting memories being a part of the ultimate holiday tradition…”THE MACY’S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE”!!!