Parksville dancers set to perform at Disneyland next year

The Parksville Ballet School's Dance 2 Disney performance team auditioned and were accepted for two shows and popular classes.

From left

A team of local dancers are booked in to perform on Disneyland’s main stage next year.

The Parksville Ballet School’s (PBS) Dance 2 Disney performance team will be making their way to Disneyland to perform in May, 2014 and they’ll take in some coveted classes while they’re there.

“It’s an incredible opportunity and I’m really excited about the class with the casting agent,” said Emily-Kendall Jones, a member of the Dance to Disney team and a senior dancer at Parksville Ballet School. Jones currently practises 16 hours a week, takes vocal lessons and is a student teacher.

Her mother Donna Wilkins is the director of the Dance 2 Disney group and has organized the trip. She’s been wanting to put together a stellar group of dancers to perform at Disneyland since she saw youth dancing on stage at the happiest place on earth 16 years ago.

“I was watching them going, this is such a neat experience for these kids to have, and so I’ve been looking into it ever since.”

Wilkins has been teaching musical theatre and tap at Parksville Ballet School for many years, and she also teaches at Kirkwood Academy in Nanaimo.

She wanted the team to be made up of performers from Parksville Ballet School’s Intensive Dance Program, those who are serious about dance as a career. She sent out the word that she was looking to form the group and the 18 kids she had pre-selected in her mind all applied. They range in age from 11 to 18.

To perform on the stage at Disneyland dance groups have to send in an audition tape. After the Dance 2 Disney group was selected Wilkins said they were told they could perform on stage for 10 minutes and then could choose from a couple of professional classes.

“I thought, if we’re going all that way I’d like my kids to have more than 10 minutes on stage, and I’d like them to have more than two dance classes,” she said.

So she asked for two 30-minute time slots and four workshops for the students, and she was approved.

The 30-minute performance will be called 20th Century Dance and will cover numbers from the 1920s Charleston, past the disco era to present day dance and include tap, jazz and hip hop.

The classes will include a workshop with a Disney casting agent and a lyrical ballet class with the director/choreographer of Disney’s Little Mermaid musical. The local students will also attend a jazz workshop with the choreographer of the Lion King musical and students will do a three-hour musical theatre workshop with the producer of Aladdin.

Dance 2 Disney member Josh Jai explained why he wanted to go on the trip.

“Just working with someone who has worked in that industry before and all their advice and tips to help me maybe one day get there would be why I want to go,” he said. “And plus it’s Disneyland, who doesn’t love Disneyland?”

The group is currently fundraising to pay for the student’s travel costs, hostels, workshops and costumes and they have a long way to go to meet their goals, said Wilkins. They will be doing a bottle drive January 4 and people can either drop off bottles at the Parksville Ballet School on Stanford Avenue or call 250-248-9522 to have them picked up.

There will be a Beer and Burger fundraiser at Boston Pizza on the last Friday of January, including a silent auction, and there will be a Valentines Dance, a dinner theatre night and a car wash in March. For details visit the group’s Facebook Page called PBS Dance to Disney Fundraising and look for their bright pink T-shirts, fundraising around town.

Anyone who would like to sponsor the group, hire them to perform, or help out in any way can call the phone number above or go to their Facebook Page.

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