FORT JONES, Calif.– It’s not often someone gets the chance to dance and perform in front of thousands of people. It’s even more significant if it happens to be at The Happiest Place on Earth. But for a lucky group of young dancers in Siskiyou County, that’s exactly what’s happening.
Members of iDance Studio in rural Fort Jones recently received an invite to perform in an annual parade at Disneyland after sending in a video and choreography showcasing their skills. The parade called the International Dance Spectacular will have twenty dance studios including iDance take part in a dance down Main Street, U.S.A. in the park.
Thirty-four dancers from the studio will head to Anaheim this September. Owner and dance instructor Kristina Walker says the group recently performed a Disney-themed show in the spring and will be allowed to perform those dances, choreographed by Walker, on a personal stage in Fantasyland.
Naturally, students are abuzz with anticipation after hearing the news.
“When Kristina first told me I was like, ‘Wait. What?'” said Cole Thompson, one of the two boys that will be representing iDance at the parade. “They asked us to come?”
“I was in lunch at school and my mom just texted me, ‘Hey, we’re performing at Disneyland,'” said Gracie Thompson. “And I was like, ‘What?!'”
It’s a wonderful surprise for a small community in a county with just over 40,000 people. But with two months till showtime, there isn’t a moment to waste.
“There’s a standard. It’s the Disneyland standard and we have to get to that point in order to actually be in the parade,” said Walker. She says that once they get to Anaheim, the students will have to go through another round of auditions and pass all the criteria required of them. If they don’t, they won’t be able to participate in the parade.
But Walker is prepared to make sure all of her students are ready.
“There are dancers driving from about an hour away to come to class and rehearse many times a week just to make this trip and this commitment,” she said. “So it’s a fun commitment but a lot of work.”
The studio is currently raising funds to help the students with their 700-mile journey to Disneyland. If you would like to learn more or help, you can visit their fundraising website here.
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NBC5 News Reporter Miles Furuichi graduated from Chapman University with degrees in English and Journalism. He received post graduate experience in Los Angeles in photojournalism and commercial photography. He also spent time in Dublin, Ireland working in print journalism and advertising.
Miles is a Rogue Valley native, raised in Ashland. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and photography.