From left are Lilly Fontenot, Sarah Larson, and Alexandra Perron as they stand among the ancient ruins of the Colosseum. (Photo courtesy of Robbie Perron)
“A funny thing happened on the way to the forum”
Three local students from Sacred Heart High School were lucky enough to travel to Rome and see the ancient monuments such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Forum.
While there in Rome, Alexandra Perron, Lilly Fontenot, and Sarah Larson were among 200 other dancers from the United States who were chosen to perform in the New Year’s Day Parade.
According to Perron, the girls were selected from those participating at the All-American camp where they danced to jazz, pop, and hip-hop.
The girls left Ville Platte on the day after Christmas and returned on the day after New Year’s.
Fontenot described the week in Rome as busy. She also commented how crowded it was, especially in the Vatican.
“It was like 40,000 people trying to fit in there at once,” she said. “A lot of them weren’t even Italians.”
Perron added, “We were crammed in there the whole time.”
Besides the crammed conditions, the girls had to adjust to other aspects of Italian life such as the food which they described as overrated.
“They don’t have salt and pepper,” Fontenot said.
Perron expanded, “They don’t give you ice with your drinks.”
Despite all the adjustments, the girls called the trip breathtaking and beautiful.
For Perron and Larson, their favorite part of the trip was seeing Florence. Larson said, “There was a cathedral there that was really pretty.”
Larson was also captivated by the scenery. “It was really pretty,” she said. “The change of scenery was really different compared to over here.”
For Fontenot, her favorite part of the trip was seeing the Forum where a funny thing happened to Julius Ceaser on his way there in 44 B.C.
“It was found during the Renaissance era,” Fontenot said. “It was where Julius Ceaser died, and they had his grave over there.”
Seeing all of the ancient Roman monuments was a humbling experience for the girls.
“It’s different being from a small town and being in a huge town like that where you are absolutely nobody,” Perron said.
To that point, Larson added, “Everybody knows about Rome. It’s in all the movies and all the history books. It’s where the Catholic faith started.”
Speaking of the Catholic faith, the girls also toured the Vatican and saw places in the history of the Church.
“We went to St. Peter’s Basilica,” Fontenot said. “We got to see all the popes who are buried there. It just gave us a different point of view.”
The week-long trip culminated with the parade.
“It was the best day over there,” Perron expressed.
Fontenot and Larson commented they received movie star treatment.
“They’re not used to seeing Americans,” said Fontenot. “The way we see celebrities is how they see us.”
“They don’t have cheerleaders,” Larson added. “We’re considered famous over there. They were videoing us, taking pictures of us, and asking us for pictures.”
The parade was three miles long and took between two and three hours to complete because the girls performed a dance five or six times along the way.
All things considered, including the long flights, each of the Trojan dancers expressed how memorable the trip was for them.
“It was really fun,” Perron said. “I liked it a lot.”
Fontenot said, “It’s a once in a lifetime experience.”
Larson concluded, “I think we’re going to remember it the rest of our lives.”