Students from the Hinton School of Dance are bringing their Disneyland choreography to the Snowflake Parade this weekend.
After returning from their trip to Disneyland in November, where they danced in the Elite Holiday Spectacular – Dance the Magic parade, they couldn’t wait to show their hometown community.
A group of 15 HSD members aged 11 to 16 were accepted to dance in the Disneyland parade as well as attend a workshop with one of Disneyland’s top choreographers.
Among the thousands of dancers at the parade there were two other schools from Canada, one from Vancouver and the other from Calgary.
“I’ve always wanted to bring my students to Disneyland to perform, but it just never really worked out. This group of parents were really keen on making this work,” said Tanya Strandlund, dance teacher at HSD who trained the group.
Collectively they fundraised, practiced, and worked hard before their video audition. Even though they were accepted they still had a chance of being cut up until the day of the parade itself.
Luckily they didn’t get cut and on Nov. 23 as the parade started coming down the road, Strandlund realized they were actually the second school at the front of the parade.
“It was really cool, they kept complimenting me on how clean and how technically sharp my dancers were. It was really awesome. It was pretty amazing,” said Strandlund.
The kids were inspired by other schools who performed and humbled by the experience and feedback they received, she added. Throughout the parade route, the dancers continued dancing for 25 minutes straight. During their last practice in Hinton they danced for 26 minutes straight, outside on the street.
“Normally a dance is a three-minute routine. Long dances are five minutes. Dancing straight for 25 or 26 minutes is really hard and they did it so amazingly,” said Strandlund.
The choreography was sent to Strandlund and the dancers rehearsed for two months before they headed down to California.
“We had to go outside to practice, we did it in the snow, I tried not to do it when it was really cold,” said Strandlund, laughing at the funny looks they got from passerby.
The kids were also grateful for the workshop experience they had with the Disneyland choreographer, said Strandlund. It adjusted their mindset and they were excited to use what they learned in future performances.
“She was giving the children feedback on how they have to be in class all the time, how to perform in class, how to perform in an audition experiences. It was really good for them to realize dancing outside of their shell and outside of their comfort zone is a must,” she said.
Strandlund added that she would definitely do another Disneyland trip, just to see the look on each of the dancer’s faces.
“I still tear up thinking about it. I was crying the month beforehand, when we were out on the street practicing,” she said.
Before Strandlund’s involvement with the school they also did a Disneyland trip, but since then it hadn’t really worked out until this year. It was important to her that everyone was really engaged in the whole experience and ensuring the kids had a great time.
“I was really proud of the parents and the children and the teachers for pulling together for this,” she said.
The trip did take a lot of commitment from Strandlund as she was often on the phone with Disneyland resort and Dance the Magic twice per week since the spring of 2019, but she still looks forward to another trip in the future.
The group of dancers performed their Disneyland choreography on the streets of Hinton during the Snowflake Parade alongside a Frozen themed float on Dec. 6.