Dancing at Disneyland

By Simon Ruppert

Visiting Disneyland is a dream of children across the world, and for many youngsters watching the famous parade is a highlight.

This month 13 young Benalla dancers, who attend Mel-o-Drama Studio, not only got to visit Disneyland and watch the parade, they were part of it.

Studio owner Mel Pentreath said the trip of a lifetime had been planned for some time.

‘‘There is a company called ‘Dance Around the World’ who I knew arranged this type of tour, and they are the only company that arranges dancers for the Disney Parade,’’ Ms Pentreath said.

‘‘There are a range of tours that can be arranged, but all the kids were very keen on going to Disneyland. So we arranged one of their 10-day tours and started practicing.’’

The youngsters had 12 months to perfect a 20-minute routine, which they would perform across several world-renowned venues in Los Angeles.

‘‘For the Disneyland parade they send over a DVD with the choreography and we had just two months to perfect that,’’ Ms Pentreath said.

‘‘That DVD is sent out to participating dance studios, in this case it was studios based all over Australia.

‘‘There are a lot of dancers in the parade and all the dance studios learn the same routine.

‘‘But the kids were confident, although they were practicing in the airport, and down the aisle of the plane. They were very excited.’’

Their first performance was at Madam Tussauds on Hollywood Boulevard, right next to all the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

‘‘We got to perform in the street with the Dance Studio name up in lights. After that we got to perform at Universal Studios and also on the Fantasyland Stage at Disneyland,’’ Ms Pentreath said. ‘‘But the highlight for them was being part of the parade.’’

They also had plenty of tourism time and enjoyed all the rides and fun that Universal Studios and Disneyland had to offer.

Now the group is back in Benalla plans are already being drawn up for the next international tour.

‘‘We have already started a plan for two years’ time,’’ Ms Pentreath said.

‘‘Next time we are planning on going to New York, so we will be sourcing all the choreography we need for that one and starting to get prepared as soon as we can.

‘‘But the kids have definitely caught the travel bug and they can’t wait for the next tour.’’