Thirty-six dancers from J.D.’s Fabulous Feet dance school in Red Deer will be demonstrating their skills for the crowds at Disneyland this week.
Julie Dionne, owner and director of J.D.’s Fabulous Feet, said performing at Disneyland is very popular, but it’s a first for her group.
“Many schools have been doing it in the U.S. for years. We’ve just been waiting for the right group of kids with lots of young, eager dancers. We’ve often taken trips to New York and Chicago, but that’s more for older students and it’s not as kid-friendly.”
The dancers range in age from eight to 19, and Dionne said they thought, “This would be a great opportunity for the younger ones, but, of course, the older ones got just as excited too. Everybody loves Disneyland. They’ll be travelling with family and friends, so altogether we’re 102 people heading to L.A., many of them making it a family vacation at the same time. Everybody has a different agenda and different plans.”
The dancers will attend a workshop on July 19, which features Disney choreographers and characters, for an hour and a half. They are all looking forward to that, she said. Then they do a free, half-hour show for the public in the Monsters Inc. section of the park on July 20.
A bonus is that the dancers get discounted passes to Disneyland as well.
“It’s all original choreography,” said Dionne, “That we’ve done especially for this show. We’re excited. It includes an opening number, everyone is part of that, all 36 kids on stage. Then we go into a tap routine for all those who do tap, then we go into a younger jazz group and then into a hip hop routine, then the older jazz girls.
“At the end is a grand finale, all 36 are part of that too. It never stops rolling and we’re crossing our fingers that the exits and entrances will work. We started practicing at the end of May and usually meet four times a week.”
Dionne admits it’s been stressful, “But they’re a great bunch of girls and they knew it was a big commitment when they signed up. They had to be committed to practicing on their own because of the short timeline. But they are loving it. They are so excited and it’s been a great experience (getting ready to go).”
Disney has very strict guidelines about who gets to perform there. The company has to see an audition tape and they also get to approve the music and costumes before a group gets the final okay.
J.D.’s Fabulous Feet, which started in Red Deer in 1996, features competitive and recreational dancing from September to June and their students compete across Alberta.