What does the future mean to a 13-year-old with acute lymphocytic leukemia? Peyton Richardson of Sugar Land, Texas, has a dream. She would like to visit the great ballet companies throughout the world and see them perform, and perhaps get a lesson from one of the principal dancers. Her dream was portrayed on the Northwestern Mutual 2016 Rose Parade Float, “Dancing into Adventure.” Designed by Stanley Meyer for Fiesta Parade Floats, it won the Past Presidents Trophy for most creative design and use of both floral and non-floral materials.
The brilliantly simple yet effective concept proved that Rose Parade floats are made for bigger-than-life designs. Taking a cue from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet, Meyer created a giant wind-up music box with a ballerina on pointe pirouetting on top, encircled by iconic buildings from cities with distinguished ballets: New York, London, Sydney and Moscow. Two swans graceful swans gently nodded their heads at the back of the float while a third, on the front, carried Peyton and her mother and father, Carrie and Roger. Off to each side were two pairs of pointe shoes.
Peyton’s story and dream adventure was chosen from several video submission (the video is in the photo list below) to be portrayed on a Tournament of Roses float. She and her family, along with Northwestern Mutual, are committed to raising awareness of childhood cancer and accelerating the search for cures. The company has funded more than 65,000 hours of saving research and with its financial representatives and employees, has collectively contributed more than $8 million for the cause.
Peyton says, “I’ve been dancing since I was three years old. I love it from the bottom of my heart. Dancing takes a lot of passion, strength and endurance. Ever since I started chemotherapy, I’ve always said that ballet is harder than cancer. Most people don’t believe me, but trust me, it’s true. Everybody should try dancing on a pointe shoe, and once you do, you’ll understand.”
The theme of the 127th Rose Parade and 102nd Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2016 was “Find Your Adventure.” If you have a question or would like a reply to your comment, please post on Facebook at All Things Rose Parade or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dancing into Adventure
A music box ballerina pirouetted on pointe atop the Northwestern Mutual 2016 Rose Parade float. Her movement can be seen through the photos. She was modeled after Peyton Richardson, in a costume of white coconut chips, macaroon and sweet rice with details in lunaria. Skin tones were a blended mixture of walnut shell, paprika and cornmeal with shading and lips decorated in crushed rose petals. Red cress seed is used on her hair. The sculpted swans had individually carved feathered wings and were created with white coconut flakes. Black seaweed and orange lentil beans, applied one-by-one, created the life-like bills.
Fighting childhood cancer
Riding in the front swan were 13-year-old ballerina Peyton Richardson and her parents Carrie and Roger Richardson. The gold ribbons draped around the necks of the swans are symbolic of the fight against childhood cancer. Behind the swan, pointe shoes were decorated in peach lentil beans. Floral arrangements in the European style included red ginger, burgundy cymbidium orchid sprays and Sumatra lilies, parakeet heliconia, green hydrangea and viburnum, pink French tulips and Obake anthuriums with pink Sweet Moment and Ballet long stem roses.
Great ballet companies
Twirling atop the music box, which used more than 10,000 Sweet Akito roses for the sides and top and golden flax and clover seeds for details, were icons of the world’s great ballet cities. Representing New York, the Statue of Liberty used eucalyptus leaves and lettuce and poppy seeds. The Sydney Opera House, London clock tower (“Big Ben”), and St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow utilized walnut shells, yellow and gold strawflower petals, blue sinuate statice confetti, sweet rice and seed varieties including sesame, flax, onion, poppy and lettuce.
The ballerina turned atop the music box as the key unwound. Underneath the front was a carpet woven in shades of pink gerbera and more than 5,000 roses including Princess, Sweetness and Cotton Candy. Water lilies were made of creamy yellow strawflower petals with solid yellow Gold Star rose centers, resting on lily pads of green parsley flakes.
Peyton Richardson shares her dream and her courage
Peyton Richardson, a 13-year-old ballerina, talks about fighting acute lymphocytic leukemia and her dream to see the great ballet companies and take a lesson with a master. This video earned her a ride on the 2016 Northwestern Mutual Rose Parade float, “Dancing into Adventure.”