UNDATED (WOOD) — A Western Michigan University graduate was one of the many Radio City Rockettes who dazzled viewers Thursday during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Gabby Fentem graduated with a bachelor’s degree in dance from WMU in 2018. Since then, she worked as a dance teacher in Chicago and participated in the Rockettes Conservatory.

“It’s amazing to be in NYC and part of this legacy of women whom I’ve looked up to for so long,” she said.

Fentem’s mother took her to see the Rockettes in person when she was 13 years old. After that, she, like so many other young girls, participated in an intensive following the show.

“Now I’m actually dancing on the line with one of the women who taught at the master class,” Fentem said.

Since then, Fentem has studied all forms of dance to ensure she is as well-rounded a dancer as she could be. That is one of the reasons Fentem said she chose to study at WMU.

“We place equal emphasis on modern, ballet and jazz dance training to the advanced level,” said Megan Slayter, WMU acting associate director of dance. “It is a tri-focus program. We have found that makes for very versatile dancers who are able to adapt to today’s contemporary styles very easily.”

Slayter said WMU has a long history of graduates going on to perform on Broadway and in Los Angeles as commercial dancers and Radio City Rockettes.

As for Fentem, who will keep performing the Rockette’s signature kick line through Jan. 2, which is when its Christmas Spectacular comes to a close, she said Thursday’s performance is something she will never forget.