A small group from the Northern Beat Dance Academy in Lac La Biche County got to experience a hint of magic last month during a series of performances at Disneyland.
THE DEER LAKE – A small group from the Northern Beat Dance Academy in Lac La Biche County got to experience a hint of magic last month during a series of performances at Disneyland. The dance school sent 10 of its students and staff to participate in a unique international choreographed performance at the theme park in Anaheim, California.
The group of teens and young adults have been preparing for the jazz routine, choreographed by runners from the Disneyland Dance the Magic parade and show, since April in Lac La Biche, said Kimberly Hughes, director of special events for the local academy.
“This group of kids belong to the dance club, but they practice more than any other kids. They practice on Saturdays,” alongside other sessions and routines the students have participated in throughout the year. year, she added.
The dancers performed the jazz routine at the Disneyland Parade and Early Hour Dance Show alongside dance companies from across North America on July 8 and 9. The second opportunity for the academy to take part in the show since 2013, explained Hughes.
“They were able to participate in the parade down Main Street at Disneyland, but they also got to perform on stage…it was really cool to see our little town represented by our dancers” in front of thousands of guests at the theme park , said Hughes. It was a special experience that had taken years to prepare and had been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
years of preparation
Initially, the group had been forming and organizing fundraising efforts since 2018 to perform in the 2020 show, Hughes said.
“Derailing a two-year plan and becoming a four-year plan has been difficult for dancers and their families. In the end, everything was revealed and they got to perform on stage at Disneyland,” she said, thanking the community for supporting the dancers’ dreams.
“We want to take this opportunity to thank the amazing community we live in, because without their support of all of our fundraisers, these kids wouldn’t have been able to go.”
The trip was a triumph that required a lot of courage and determination from the group not only to train and raise funds, but also to stop training at the height of the pandemic, said Yumiko Ammond, the former president of the academy.
“Dancing is a discipline that requires a lot of physical strength and endurance. The parade in the California heat required endurance, but our girls did very well,” she said.
The group was also able to impress the other groups that were present. “Other studios that have participated in Dance the Magic have been surprised that our dancers persevered and committed to this even though they didn’t know when they would be allowed to go.”
The group traveled to the theme park not only to perform for the thousands of guests who visit the park each day, but they also used the experience as a learning opportunity to perfect the routine with the vice- President and Artistic Director of Dance the Magic, Jennilee Barr.
Other benefits came with the trip, Hughes added. The dancers and their local choreographer and dancer Mariah Stromquist were able to participate in a VIP party and a private hour to explore the theme park attractions.
The long journey, training sessions and several years of fundraising throughout the pandemic have been a daunting task, Hughes said. But the end result and the international performance was an experience the dancers and organizers will never forget.
For the next group of students who might want to embark on the adventure, the Academy will be there to support them, according to Hughes.
“We are looking at starting a new group of kids – if they are interested – we would help them make it happen… it’s an amazing once in a lifetime experience”