Young dancers Disneyland-bound

LOS ANGELES BOUND: Emma Body and her team of dancers poised to travel to Disneyland.

Stepping out onto a stage in the heart of Disneyland is no more than a fantasy for most young dance hopefuls.

But the dream has become a reality for 15 promising dancers at the Selwyn School of Dance.

The dancers will travel to Los Angeles in July next year not only to perform on the stage at Disneyland Resort but on Hollywood Boulevard.

The pupils were selected to join an array of dancers from all over Australasia after sending an audition tape to company World Class Dance Tours.

They will spend two weeks in Los Angeles taking dance classes at some of the top dance studios in the city including Millennium Dance Complex.

Each student will need $6000 to travel overseas and the school will hold a fundraising concert closer to the time.

The creative mind behind choreographing the team dance for the student’s big moment in Disneyland is the school’s artistic director Emma Body.

Mrs Body said the students are excited by the opportunity and she along with several other teachers at the school will be looking to put together a 30min dance piece.

“I know a lot of kids are keen on doing stuff from film La La Land . . . generally it will be something pretty upbeat,” she said.

Mrs Body, of Rolleston had bright beginnings to the dancing world when she was a child, making the cut for the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

“In those days they came and auditioned everybody. It was a bit bigger deal than these days. They tend to just pick the people who fit the costumes,” she said.

Growing up in Nelson, Mrs Body trained under Gillian Francis before she moved to study Otago University and took an interest in contemporary dance while there.

She then danced and taught with Canterbury Ballet before she had two children and set up her own school in 2007.

“It is really cute, my eldest daughter when she was four she was at a pre-school in Rolleston and must have told one of the teachers there “mummy was a dancer” and they approached me about taking some pre-school classes,” Mrs Body said.

When her pre-school pupils reached school-age Mrs Body decided to set up her own school to give dancers in Selwyn an option.

Her own school now has more than 200 dancers with one travelling from as far as the Heathcote Valley to train.

Dreaming up a mega Disneyland dance routine is not the only showpiece Mrs Body has on the go with her ballet pupils set to perform the Coppélia ballet at Middleton Grange School on June 24.

The comic ballet show brings back fond memories for Mrs Body who danced as a child in the Coppelia’s Waltz of the Hours for the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

Wanting only the best for her students, Mrs Body is a “sucker for punishment” making about 50 tutus from scratch for the dancers in the show with her mother Jeannie Stewart.

•For more information on the school’s production of Coppelia go to www.selwynschoolofdance.co.nz

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