Community News

Dancin’ at Disney

Local girls invited to perform on main stage

News Staff Report

The girls who train at Rising Stars Studio of Dance have stepped their best steps against up to 30 other schools in places like Mobile, Biloxi and New Orleans. They’ve taken their competitive edge and a love for dance to each city and come back loaded down with awards, plaques and trophies.
They won’t be bringing any such symbols of success home from a scheduled November trip.
RSSD instructor and owner Christina Hall announced publicly last week that her tiny dancers, tweens and teens have been invited to be a part of the Walt Disney World Thanksgiving celebration.
“We have some really good dancers,” said Hall, who plans to take “about 60” girls from her studios on the Poarch reservation and in Citronelle to the non-competitive event at the world-acclaimed theme park. “We are super delighted. Our girls have won at regionals and nationals — groups and individuals, and we really have some prime dancers.”
She shopped around a little, thought she’d see if anybody else might be as impressed with the group as she was. Someone was.
“I sent an audition tape to Walt Disney World, and we were chosen to dance there in November, during the week of Thanksgiving,” she said. “We’re going to be dancing in downtown Disney, on the big stage where Cirque de Soleil performed.”
Hall said the trip would be a different one for all the girls, although a small group of students were already dancing with her when a similar invitation was tendered five years ago.
“It’s definitely a big deal to all of them,” she said. “Instead of going there to compete, they are going there to have fun and to entertain. We have two or three girls who went five years ago and are still in the dancing spectrum.”
The school is headquartered on the PCI reservation, but Hall said her classes are “open” and include non-tribal members, too. Classes are divided into age groups, and girls 4-18 years are welcome to join.
Currently, two dozen girls from the local studio are expected to take part in the trip. Ten of them are first-generation Poarch Creek Indian, and one is a later-generation tribal member.
Each girl must finance her own trip to Disney World, and most are already conducting fundraisers to make sure they get to go.
“Each of them has to pay her own way,” Hall said. “Most of them make vacations out of it. They all have a good time trying to come up with ideas to raise the money. I know we have a lot of students from Poarch, so we’re going to try and push for some funding help from Poarch.”