8,000 Young Performers Perform at Dance the World in Disney
About 8,000 dance students from around the country are arriving in Orlando, FL this week for Dance The World, one of the nation's largest dance festivals. Aside from dancing on one of the world's best-known stages, students will learn from pros in private rehearsals, parade the streets of the Magic Kingdom, and chase down their dreams of becoming professional entertainers themselves.
The festival brings together more than 90 studios from around the country, including eight from Connecticut, 10 from Pennsylvania, 11 from New Jersey, and dozens from around the South: ranging from Tennessee to Tampa to Terrytown, LA. The event has helped launch the careers of several young dancers like Desiree Cosgrove, who got her first taste of show business while a student at Kicks Academy of Dance in Glenn Mills, PA, and now travels with Disney troupes around the world.
"It wasn't until traveling to Disney with Kicks to perform at Dance The World that I got my initial draw to turn dance into more than just a hobby," Cosgrove said. "Without this small taste of the performing world I may not have had the courage to pursue dancing professionally, or even pursue Disney as a real life career."
"It's the perfect chance to expose these kids to career opportunities in the future," said Kicks director, Kristin Davis. "More than anything, dancing for their parents and grandparents in Disney is something they'll remember for the rest of their lives."
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing for these grandparents to join their grandkids in Disney and watch them perform on the greatest stage in the country. It's amazing for them to be able to share this moment," said Courtney Billings, director of the Academy of Dance and Music in Wallingford, CT, whose 47-year-old studio will bring down three generations of dance fans, 300 in all. "It's difficult to find a public stage where there is no competitive element, so Dance The World represents a rare opportunity for us," she said.