Local dancers with The Weyburn Dance Zone recently had an amazing opportunity to perform in Disneyland as part of Disney’s Dance the Magic, which brings together dancers from around the world. Participating from Carlyle were Kassidy Schultz, Tyra Newell, Jenna McAuley, Payton Spry, and Jaiden Riddell, and from Arcola were Izzy Pittman, Abigail Birch, and Olivia Brownridge.
Together, along with dancers from Weyburn, Milestone, and Pangman, they practiced and put in a lot of work to be able to perform in Disneyland. Instructor and owner of The Dance Zone, Tammy Bhimji submitted an audition to Disney, and then dancers that wanted to participate could, which this year included dancers from six to 16-years-old.
After being accepted into the program, Bhimji and Dance Zone Instructor Ashely Heggs were sent choreography and the music, “Take on the World” (from Girl meets World by Sabrina Carpenter). The dancers had one month to learn and practice it. Once arriving in Disneyland they would be evaluated and placed accordingly for the parades.
Thirty-two participants from The Dance Zone at “Dance the Magic” in California from July 5-9. They took part in Disney Dance Workshops – which were led by Disney performers – performed in two parades –Disneyland and California Adventure – and many also chose to participate in a showcase performance on Disney’s Fantasy Land Stage.
Richelle McAuley, mother of Jenna, explained, “Disney parades happen all the time down there, but these particular parades involve dancers from all over the world – from countries like Australia, Japan, Canada and the United States. The first two days were dance camps, the 7th and 8th were parade days – on the Disney side they performed a 30 minute parade and on the California Adventure side they performed for 45 minutes.. All participants danced the same choreography in sync during the entire parade!”
With each group having been evaluated once in Disneyland, Richelle adds, “Everyone had multi-coloured matching costumes, ours were dark blue. Our dancers got to lead the dark blue group which showed their showmanship and skills, which was really nice to see.”
Of the 32 participants, which went down to Disneyland to perform in the camps and parades, 21 also participated in a showcase performance on the Fantasy Land Stage. The Showcase number was choreographed and directed by Bhimji, Heggs, as well as Kim Ziffle, all with The Dance Zone. The dancers had a short time to learn this performance, which was then approved by Disney to be performed on the big stage.
“It was pretty cool to watch on that stage,” Richelle exclaimed. “All of the dance groups can submit performances, not all get chosen. Tammy [Bhimji] chose to choreograph something from a routine some of the younger dancers competed with, and add to it, so that everybody who wanted to be in it could be.
“It’s a non-competitive event and a great experience. It’s been going on for about 15-years and is a neat way to bring families to Disney. It’s a pretty amazing experience; magical.”
In addition to all of the hard work dancers do throughout the regular dance and competition season, those participating in Dance the Magic put in numerous extra hours to prepare for this experience; spending the month of June, at least times per week, practicing to prepare for the parades and showcase. Their hard work paid off though as they earned a spot leading their portion of the parade and were exemplary on the Fantasy Land Stage.
Overall it was an amazing experience for the dancers to be a part of an opportunity to perform in front of thousands of people.
Richelle added, “Our dancers would like to send a special thanks to Ms Tammy and Ms Ashley for ‘making the magic of Disney happen!’”