The students at Julie Ross Dance Studio are busy preparing for a trip to America in July, which will see them perform at Disneyland. We catch up with co-ordinator Sally Johnson, to find out about the rehearsals and fundraising that’s involved.
Tell us about the program that the students will be a part of in America.
There are a few parts to this trip. We’ll be performing at Disney as part of a program called Dance The Magic, and we’re doing the Summer Spectacular. Studios from all around the world participate in the program.
We all got sent a DVD with a routine that we have to learn, and we then get to perform it on the main street dressed in a Disney costume. We have another two performances at Disney that aren’t a part of the Dance the Magic program, and we also get to perform at Universal Studios as well as on Hollywood Boulevard.
We’re going over there for 10 days, which will be made up of 5 days of performances and 2 days of workshops. We attend a Disney workshop and I think it will be something in musical theatre, because Disney is really good at that. Then we also get to dance at Debbie Reynolds’ dance studio, which is where all the big stars go – including Britney Spears and the like.
It will be great for the kids to get to see what a big professional studio is actually like, because we don’t really have anything quite like that in Australia – where really professional dancers can go and train.
They give you the choreography for the parade. Do you do the rest of the choreography yourselves?
Yes, and we’ve had 5 choreographers work on that. We’re doing routines in Tap, Jazz, musical theatre and Modern.
Tell us about the group that’s going over to the USA for these performances.
We have 25 students going, but there are nearly 70 people travelling in the group with all the families who are coming with us. The youngest dancer is 7, and I’m the oldest dancer at 25.
We went over there in 2008 as well, and I actually danced in that one with my younger brother. We had 19 students go then, but we didn’t get to perform on Hollywood Boulevard back then, so that’s a new addition to the program.
As the co-ordinator, what’s involved for you?
Oh, so much work! It’s not only organising the rehearsals, getting the performances ready, and getting the costumes organised, but it’s also making sure that we’ve got uniforms ordered and designing new costumes. There’s a huge amount of paperwork to do with Disney that I have to complete as well. And early on, we had to do audition DVDs, which took a bit to get together. But I think the hardest thing is getting the parents organised and giving them the info that they need.
It’s not going to be a cheap trip – what are you doing for fundraising?
The kids and their families are paying for the actual trip, but it’s our plan to pay for the extra stuff … they’ve got to have two costumes and a uniform, and we also want to make sure that we can pay for the actual performance cost and the workshops.
Thankfully, we’ve had major sponsorship from Subway, and we’ve had Harvey Norman jump on board and provide us with lots of BBQs. We’ve also done a couple of BBQs at Bunnings, Carols by Candlelight, and the Buskers Kids’ Day. Plus, we have had pie drives and we’ve spent time selling chocolates.
At the moment, we’re about $4,000 away from our target, but we’ve got our major concert coming up in April, so hopefully we can raise half the money from that.
It would be easier if you gained some major financial sponsorship. If our readers are interested in donating money, what’s the best way to do that?
If we could have 2 big businesses jump on board and provide us with $2,000, that would be amazing! We’d be so grateful.
So if anyone is interested in helping us out, the best thing would be to either contact myself or Julie. My number is 0429 396 426, or you can call the studio on 6651 9419.
We’re happy to exchange a performance for some funds and/or mention the sponsors in everything that we do.
Thanks Sally. Good luck with the performances!