August 2nd, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 31
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Turning Pointe dazzles at Disneyland
Dance troupe entertains down Disneyland Lane
Source: YouTube
ANNA KROUPINA
Pass Herald Reporter
Turning Pointe Dance Studio turned 15 this year, and what better way to mark the occasion than with a trip to Disneyland?

Twenty-five dancers from the Hillcrest studio ranging from age 8 to 17 from Turning Pointe took a five-day trip to California at the beginning of July to participate in dance workshops and perform for huge crowds at the Disney Parade.

Along with aunties, uncles, grandparents and other family members supporting the dancers, around 70 people in total came on the trip.

“We ended with a wonderful finish the 15th year. Everyone really enjoyed themselves and it was a really great experience. It was great camaraderie and a great team-building experience among the dance family,” says Tara Groves, the owner of Turning Pointe.

The trip was booked through the Dance the Magic company for their Summer Dance Classic 2017 event. The company organizes trips for dancers from all over the world at Disneyland amusement parks in California, Florida and Paris.

On July 5 and 6, the trip started off with Turning Pointe participating in two professional dance workshops per day.
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“All the choreographers were people who started their careers at Disney,” says Groves. “They all started out as dancers in different shows or in the parades, or working as a character, and then they came back and reconnected with Disney and are working as choreographers. They have 25 to 35 years of experience. We had a Q&A with them after the workshops. That was really cool for the kids to see, that you can have a career in dance.”

On July 7 and 8, the dancers then had a daily performance at the Dance the Magic Parade, the opening event for the grand Disney Parade and with masses of people gathering to watch, there was no room for stage fright.

“People line up so far in advance to watch the Disney Parade that there is a huge crowd because they are there to watch those bigger events. The streets are packed. It was a very good opportunity for the kids,” says Groves.

Preparation for the Dance the Magic Parade began back in May, when the company sent over the choreography for Turning Pointe dancers to learn and perform at the show.

“When you do a parade, it’s unlike doing a dance. It’s a little bit of a different style of choreography because you’re moving forward while you dance and it’s looped,” says Groves, adding that to practice for the event, the dancers paraded down the streets of Hillcrest, often repeating the dance for up to 35 minutes, much longer than they would be performing at Disneyland, in order to become acquainted with the choreography and to be comfortable with the stamina it would require.
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Two months doesn’t seem like enough time to learn a routine to perfection, but Groves commended the team on staying focused and dedicated to rehearsals.

“The good thing was because it was a loop, they were doing the same one and a half minute of choreography over and over again. It allows you to get it ready quicker. They also learn it faster because they’re repeating and repeating it,” she says.

On the last day, the Turning Pointe team finished the trip off with two performances for their big Dance the Magic Showcase, a ballet routine and a hip hop number, choreographed by Groves herself and assisted by Meagan Morency.

The whole experience pushed the dancers to their limits, but above simply learning challenging routines by professional choreographers, the kids also got a lesson in professionalism and work ethic.

“They signed a contract that came from Disney that said that if they do not perform up to standards, they will not be allowed to participate. They have to be performing all the time and presenting themselves appropriately. It really teaches them that they have to be accountable. Disney is very kind, but it’s an expectation they have because they have a big reputation to uphold,” says Groves.

This was the second time Turning Pointe travelled to Disneyland through the Dance the Magic company. The first time was in 2012 for the studio’s 10th anniversary.

Earlier in the year, Turning Pointe Dance Studio held their year-end show in May themed around where they performed dances from years past and featured several alumni dancers.
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August 2nd, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 31
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