Tiger Martina, the director and choreographer of Vegas! The Show at Planet Hollywood’s Saxe Theater, takes his handiwork just-barely-off-Broadway on Nov. 24 at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (9 a.m., NBC), where his tap-dancing elves routine will be featured on the Office Max float—that’s the one featuring an Alpine rooftop. Now, that’s the big time. Here are Martina’s three steps to getting there:
Grow up dancing in the David DeMarie Dance Studio in Buffalo, NY. Then tour with Liza Minnelli for a couple of years. Martina helped Liza’s at the Palace win a Tony Award and earn a Grammy nomination.
Get 36 David DeMarie students into elf leotards, tap dancing beautifully, in one month. There was a short turn-around time on getting these dancers ready for the performance. “Usually, there are at least six months of preparation for these Macy’s Parade routines,” Martina says. “We were only given a month to whip these kids into shape! But I knew this would be a dedicated bunch, from the way this studio is operated.”
Have a stellar partner back east. Jennifer McLenigan is Martina’s childhood friend and grew up with him in the DeMarie Studio. She lives in Buffalo and serves as Martina’s eyes, ears and direction as she prepares the children who play the dancing elves. (Two of her daughters are performing on the float.) “There is great energy around the studio,” she says. “The parents and children have given so much time and support. It is absolutely thrilling to be working on this. I’m so excited to see it coming together so well.”