Macy Gunnell

“And the group with the best visuals in the state is…”

“The Plainfield Belles et Beaux!”

As the crowd erupted, Belles et Beaux dance captain, senior Macy Gunnell, moved forward to accept the award. “It was a heartwarming experience that made me feel so proud of my group,” said Gunnell. “It meant that all the hours and hours of hard work we put in really was for something.” 

This year was especially remarkable, due to the show choir’s high placement at State, compared to previous years in which merely qualifying for State was rare. “I had watched the group grow as I helped teach them how to dance throughout the year, so knowing that personally I did well made me feel proud, and seeing everyone cry tears of happiness as they celebrated made me so happy,” she said. “A victory like that was something Plainfield hadn't seen in a long time. I'll forever remember how happy we all felt that night.”

While Gunnell has been actively involved in the show choir and theatre departments for four years, she has been dancing for far longer than that. At only five years old, Gunnell was enrolled into dance classes and she fell in love. “Most think that dance is an easy sport, but it's not,” said Gunnell. “You have to have an incredible amount of mental stamina to do everything right. You can't go on autopilot for even a couple of seconds; you have to constantly be purposefully placing every limb correctly. Oh, and you have to make it look easy, too.” 

Learning to control her movements to portray ease was not a simple task. Instead, it took Gunnell years of trial and error to master. “Through all my years of dancing, there's one thing that I'll never forget from a few years ago,” she recalled. “I had a solo in our show's opening number on top of a tall pedestal. When I say this thing was unstable, I mean it was unstable. You could feel it wobbling and crunching when just standing on it, so having to dance on it was horrible. I was also afraid of heights at the time. As I was up there in the middle of a performance, I lost track of how big it was, and my foot slipped off the edge. I was able to catch myself and fix my solo, but I still have yet to fix my self esteem after that happened.”

Although Gunnell experienced her fair share of embarrassing moments and unexpected lessons, her efforts eventually were rewarded. “My favorite performance in dance was definitely my freshman year of high school, where I played multiple Disney princesses onstage for my dance company's recital,” said Gunnell. “I've always loved acting, so being able to combine dance with playing such unique characters was amazing. I also got to do ‘meet and greets’ with hundreds of little girls as Rapunzel and Snow White, which was such a heart-warming experience that I'll never forget.”

In light of her passion for dancing, Gunnell currently plans to major in nursing and minor in ballet. After college, she hopes to become a show choir choreographer and to perform musical theatre on the side. “I want to keep dancing for the rest of my life,” she said, “just because of how freeing it is for me.”