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Grand Falls-Windsor dance troupe dreaming of Disney

Most of the dancers pictured will head to Orlando, Florida in July to take part in Dance the World in Disney. Dancers from the Lesley Oake School of Dance in Grand Falls-Windsor are busy fundraising to make this dream come true.
Most of the dancers pictured will head to Orlando, Florida in July to take part in Dance the World in Disney. Dancers from the Lesley Oake School of Dance in Grand Falls-Windsor are busy fundraising to make this dream come true.

GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, NL — So many children dream of a trip to Disney World to see the characters, take in the rides, and experience magic.

A group of dancers from the Lesley Oake School of Dance in Grand Falls-Windsor will be doing just that next summer.
Dancers ages nine to 17 are going to Orlando, Florida July 7-10, 2018 to take part in Dance the World in Disney.

The three-day performance festival is an opportunity for dancers to participate in a professionally choreographed parade through the park and down Main Street USA in front of Cinderella's Castle.

Twenty-two dancers from the Lesley Oake School of Dance performance team will participate. Along with performing in the parade, they will display their talent at the Epcot World Showplace performance festival, said Lesley Penney, instructor and owner/director of the school.

“This is a very passionate, hard-working and talented group of dancers, and this experience will not only allow them to showcase their skills and talent on the world’s stage, but give them an invaluable opportunity to see the talent there is in the dance world, which I know will drive them to become even better dancers themselves,” she said.

Penney said the dancers have been performing and attending events and competitions throughout the province for several years and done extremely well. She thought they should aim for a larger event and take the time to prepare over the next year. 

“I have heard so many great things from fellow dance studio owners that have attended the event in the past that I knew it was something our dancers would love to be a part of as well,” Penney said.

She was right. The dancers are ecstatic to be dancing in Disney.

“I’ve seen dancers there before so I kind of know what we are doing and it’s really cool,” said Mallory Hunter, junior team member. “I’ve always wanted to do it and I can’t believe that one of the things on my bucket list is going to be accomplished. I’m overwhelmed.”

Hunter said though the team has travelled before, this is a fabulous opportunity.

“I think it’s an amazing experience for us because we have never gone anywhere before that big,” the 13-year-old said. “The furthest we have travelled is St. John’s so this is a big step for us.”

She said she’s looking forward to dancing, and learning from the people who have danced there before.

“Just to improve our techniques and show us some tricks,” Hunter said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to advance. For us it’s a big benefit by learning different kinds of dances. They may not do the same techniques or genre of dance as we do.”

Senior team member Eilish Hanlon is equally as excited.

“Me and my family are huge Disney fanatics so we cannot wait,” the 16-year-old said. “It’s actually a dream come true to dance in Disney down Main Street of Magic Kingdom. It’s crazy.

“It’s so surreal.”

Hanlon said she is most looking forward to the parade itself.

“Getting to work with new teachers and seeing dancers from all around the world is going to be an incredible experience,” Hanlon said. “And I can’t wait to meet new people. Learning from new people and their teaching techniques and different styles. Everyone has a personal dance style and I can’t wait to see what everyone else has to offer.”

 

Non-stop fundraising

The Lesley Oake School of Dance performance team is preparing for a trip of a lifetime to Dance the World in Disney.

Dancers will soon learn new choreography to perform and brush up on their current repertoire to ensure they are ready for July.

They are also preparing financially.

“The dancers and parents have been fundraising non-stop since we decided to attend the event and have been working hard to make sure they make it there,” said Lesley Penney, instructor and owner/director of the school.

Upcoming fundraisers include a Dance the World Gala Dinner Oct. 20 with Chef Allan Milley, entertainment by Charlotte Murphy and Brian Gruchy, performances by the dancers, and a silent auction.

A yard/bake sale is planned for later in October, as well as a Laura Secord chocolate bar/almond sale in October, an Epicure sale in November, a movie night in November with admission by donation, bagging groceries at Dominion in December, and an adult volleyball tournament.

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