A group of dancers from Abbotsford School of Integrated Arts (ASIA) Sumas is travelling to Disneyland in Los Angeles next month to perform on stage and to participate in workshops.
A total of 21 dancers in Grades 9 to 12 will make the trip as part of the ASIA Sumas Dance Company. Another 17 students – some of whom are in theatre production – and six chaperons will be there to cheer them on.
Teacher Lyndsey Hotell, dance company director, said the dancers will perform a 25-minute set – consisting mostly of Disney songs – on Feb. 14.
Hotell said they are going with a hero/villains theme, opening with the theme from The Incredibles followed by songs such as Chillin’ Like a Villain, Ways to be Wicked and Rotten to the Core.
She said the choreography includes jazz, hip hop and modern influences, and even two tap numbers.
“These dancers are going to be working very hard on stage and will have to keep their stamina up for the entire set,” Hotell said.
The group has been rehearsing during their twice-a-week classes, over lunches and out of class since September. They also came in over Christmas break for a full day to work with Lorissa Arndt, their artist in residence, who helped with the choreography.
The entire Disney trip runs from Feb. 11 to 17 and also includes the students attending a dance workshop and a vocal recording workshop hosted by the Disney Youth Education Series.
As well, they will have a workshop with a lead lighting technician from Disney who created the World of Color and Fantasmic shows.
They will also visit the Orange County School of the Arts, attend theatre performances and do tours of places such as Los Angeles and north Hollywood.
The trip was initiated by Hotell, who started the ASIA Sumas Dance Company in the 2018/19 school year.
Their first project was a dance-only version of Romeo and Juliet, which they performed at the Abbotsford Arts Centre in April 2019.
In October 2018, Hotell, another teacher and the school’s principal attended a conference in Orange County, Calif., which included an evening in Disneyland with directors of the Disney Youth Education Series.
They attended the vocal recording workshop and thought it would be a great experience for their students.
Hotell then presented the idea for an LA 2020 trip to parents and students, and asked the dance company if they wanted to audition to perform on stage in Disneyland.
Everyone was on board, and they have been working hard ever since, including raising money for the trip, which is being paid for entirely by the students and parents and through various fundraisers.
Hotell said everyone involved is looking forward to the trip.
“I cannot wait for the moment when I get to see them come from backstage and enter that Disney stage with all the confidence in the world,” she said.
“I want them to walk away with a sense of accomplishment and teamwork.”
A sneak preview of the Disney performance takes place Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m. at the school, 36232 Lower Sumas Mountain Rd. Admission is a minimum $5 donation at the door.
Hotell said donations are also still being accepted to help with the group’s costumes and travel-related expenses. Anyone who can help can email email@example.com or call her at the school (604-850-5207) for more information.