The Qualicum Beach School of Dance (QBSD) is going to Disneyland.
On May 16, the school is sending a group of 20 dancers to perform on the Hollywood Backlot Stage, which is located just inside the gates of Disney’s California Adventure in Anaheim.
“They’re doing really good,” said dance instructor Donna Wilkins of her students’ on-going rehearsals. “We have a lot of work to do, but they know that.”
Wilkins said the QBSD dancers will put on a full 30-minute “back to Broadway” themed performance as opposed to the usual set of individual recital pieces. The non-stop performance will include music from Phantom of the Opera, Ain’t Misbehaving, West Side Story and Flashdance and will feature dance styles ranging from point to musical theatre in order to show the students’ versatility.
“(It’s) like doing a full show,” said Wilkins of the format, adding that nobody is off-stage for more than five minutes. “It’s more fun that way.”
The performance also gives the students, who range in age from 11-18 and vary in levels of experience from three to 15 years, to dance together.
“They’re working together so well,” said owner and artistic director of QBSD Shari Selva.
“They’re an accomplished group of kids,” agreed Wilkins, who added that the students all had to audition to join the group, which is run outside of their regular dance classes.
Aside from the performance, the trip will also include several workshops and master classes with Disney professionals. “I want them to be inspired by this,” said Wilkins. “It’s fun to work with these professionals.”
And then, after all that hard work, the group gets to go play in Disneyland.
Of course, this whole opportunity took a lot more than endless rehearsals and a solid audition tape to come to fruition. The students, teachers and parents have also had to do a heap of fundraising.
“With these kids came the most amazing set of moms,” said Selva.
Alongside pitching in with organizing travel plans, Selva said the parents have helped organize bottle drives, flower and chocolate sales, beer and burger nights and more. In fact, Selva said they’ve gathered enough monies that the students who were part of the fundraising will have much of their trip paid for.
Before the group leaves on their six-day trip, however, the school is hosting a final fundraiser on May 8 when the dancers will debut their 30-minute Disney routine. Hosted at the Whalebone Theatre in Ballenas, the night will also feature performances by the QBSD competitive dancers and Eclat, a Courtenay-based pre-professional ballet company that includes some QBSD students. Admission is $15 at the door, which opens at 6:15 p.m. for the performance at 7 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend.