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10:01 PM Fri, Sept. 21st

Dance, Dance, Dance

RhythMotion Dance Company performs ³Nicest Kid in Town² March 14 at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. The routine is the finale in a 30-minute show the 20 members of the dance company from The Dance Studio in Prescott put on during two performances at the Disney theme parks March 13 and 14.

Courtesy photo

RhythMotion Dance Company performs ³Nicest Kid in Town² March 14 at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. The routine is the finale in a 30-minute show the 20 members of the dance company from The Dance Studio in Prescott put on during two performances at the Disney theme parks March 13 and 14. Courtesy photo

PRESCOTT ­ Twenty local dancers March 13 and 14 performed at Disney amusement parks in Anaheim, Calif., receiving the celebrity treatment and showing off Prescott's talent.

Early this year, members of The Dance Studio's RhythMotion performing team learned that Disney officials had selected them to give two performances ­ one at Disneyland and one at Disney's California Adventure ­ in honor of the former's 50th anniversary.

"I'm more excited than you'd think," 15-year-old Aubrey Eriksen said during a dress rehearsal before the trip. "We went to Yavapai College, did an audition tape and sent it in."

Wendy Seastrand, 14, added, "They watched it and they liked it and they picked us."

This past Wednesday after the all-girl group, which ranges in age from 8 to 16 years old, returned from the week long excursion, they agreed that the experience had been more than they expected.

"They let us ride around on a tram. We got to feel like celebrities," said Mariah Franklin, 13, who had never been to Disneyland before.

She said she enjoyed "seeing the backstage of Disneyland, because it was so different than you were expecting. It was all unpainted and stuff."

Aubrey said that before the trip, she'd imagined that everything would be very laid back, but during the whole thing, "Everything was exciting and the people from Disneyland made us feel famous."

"The crowd was really great," 12-year-old Alex Bates said. "They clapped every time we did something really cool."

Also, she said that although both stages were tough to dance on (they were small, awkwardly shaped and had rough surfaces), it was a good learning experience to perform while compensating for tough situations.

Katie Boggs, 13, said the dressing room for the first performance (at California Adventure) "was a little smaller than I was expecting. We were all trying to move around and it was chaos."

All of the girls interviewed said they loved being in Disneyland with their closest friends.

"Just being with everybody," Katie said, "having all the people there that you want to be there, at the most special place on earth."

Wendy said the permanent Disney staff told the dancers that they were staff for a day.

"It was really cool," she said. "We got to go backstage in Disneyland. That made me feel very special."

Eight-year-old Christina Gallo said, "It was a lot of fun dancing there and being with my friends."

The 30-minute performance the girls put on included 11 different routines that three different groups performed (Those include Star company, up to age 8, Junior Company, ages 9 to 12 and Senior Company, ages 10 to 20).

The March 3 dress rehearsal proved that the show was fast-paced, with no breaks between numbers. Girls had sometimes less than three minutes to switch costumes for their next routine and switched between tap, jazz and lyrical styles.

At that dress rehearsal, Aubrey said she thought it would be fun to dance at Disney and spend time there with her friends.

Wendy added that she was looking forward to going out of state as a group.

Katie said she was excited "about the whole surroundings. Everybody being there, the place, the people, the rides."

Lilly Englehard, 13, said she thought it was neat that "People from California will see people from Prescott dance."

Eleven-year-old Annie Dyer said it was her first trip to Disneyland, and she was excited about performing in front of new people.

"I don't even think they'll know where Prescott is," Annie said of audience members.

However, 10-year-old Emily Thompson added that she thought audiences "would think we're good dancers."

Donna Casey, artistic director and owner of The Dance Studio, said this past Wednesday that she was "really proud" of the girls.

"Just watching them on stage, they were so professional and they conducted themselves like young ladies."

"They had never performed on a level like this was," she said, adding that Disneyland is an icon and a magical place, so that made the performance even more special.

Contact the reporter at hdartt@prescottaz.com