Resident dances her way to Toronto for McDonald's commercial
Audessa Parafina didn’t realize making French fries at McDonald’s would help her in the pursuit of her ultimate dream to become a professional dancer.
The 15-year-old Airdrie resident and Cochrane McDonald’s crew member was chosen as one of seven staff members from across Canada to star as a dancing employee in a new national television advertisement for the fast-food restaurant chain.
Parafina said it was an amazing opportunity.
Not only did she get the chance to dance on television, she was also taught choreography by a resident judge from the reality television show So You Think You Can Dance Canada.
“It was a great experience working with Luther Brown,” Parafina said.
Parafina said the most valuable thing she learned from Brown was to have confidence while dancing.
Though she was the youngest of the seven cast members, who had an age range of 15 to 21, she said she got along well with the other dancers.
“Since we are all dancers, we all just clicked,” she said. “The cast was so nice. It was just like a great big family.”
At first she danced around the idea of auditioning for a spot on the cast, but her father, general manager of the Cochrane McDonald’s, thought she would be a perfect fit.
“My dad thought it would be a great idea since I do so much dancing,” she said.
She wasn’t nervous to send in her audition video performing street jazz at her practice studio because she has danced since she was about eight years old in various styles including hip hop, jazz, ballet and tap.
She also attends the Edge School in Springbank, which specializes in elite level dancing and athletics, has trained at the Airborne Dance Centre for two years, as well as taken part in Young Canadians dance performance at the Calgary Stampede for two years.
“I dance almost every day,” she said.
Despite her experience, Parafina said she felt nervous after being flown out to Toronto as one of 12 people selected for a live audition in front of a panel of McDonald’s executives.
The live auditions focused on employees’ dancing abilities and narrowed down the 12 hopefuls to the seven managers and McDonald’s crew members that would comprise the cast for the commercial.
“It was in front of all the head people,” she said. “You don't really know what to expect.”
Parafina has worked at the Cochrane McDonald’s part-time for about six months. She said her job has been flexible with scheduling allowing her to concentrate on her dancing.
“They’re very understanding of my dance schedule,” she said.
During the first part of her week in Toronto, the cast learned its choreography for the routine and rehearsed.
Shooting the commercial took 12 hours and took place on the final day.
Parafina said the long day came as no surprise.
“They (filmers) knew it was going to take long,” she said, adding the commercial was shot from many angles.
Now that Parafina is back, she said she has received positive feedback from fellow staff and her friends.
She added she is anxious to view the finished product.
“I really want to see what it looks like,” Parafina said.
The McDonald’s commercial airs on Canadian television networks beginning this week.