More than 50 area youths recently traveled to Disney World with the DeMarco Sisters School of Dance to perform an American tribute.
According to Angie Kline, public relations coordinator for Disney, the DeMarco Sisters School of Dance members became stars of their own Disney show when they entertained visitors at Downtown Disney Marketplace at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida as part of the Disney Performing Arts Program.
"Dance groups, choirs, ensembles and marching bands from around the world apply to perform each year as part of Disney Performing Arts at both the Disneyland and the Walt Disney World Resorts," Kline wrote in a press release. "Once selected, they are given the opportunity to perform at the resort for an international audience of theme park guests. Millions of performers have graced the stages of the Disney Resorts in the more than 25-year history of the program."
Students of DeMarco Sisters School of Dance dancing to “Kids of America” at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
From left, Lauren Caldwell and Crystal Schrader.
Ashley Lundmark, 12, dancing to “Proud To Be An American” at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
According to Jaclyn Haskell, daughter of Vicky (DeMarco) Haskell who acted as organizer for the event, the performance was so close to the 4th of July that they decided to dedicate it to America.
"All the songs were dedicated to America," Jaclyn said. "Andrew Caldwell, a senior at Jamestown High School, acted as 'Uncle Sam,' the narrator of the show. He had jokes in between dances and got the audience involved. We had dancers ranging in ages from 5 to 24. So, we had the little ones grouped for a few dances and the older ones grouped for a few. We opened with 'Proud To Be An American" and then we all came together for the 'Kids of America' at the closer. But, one of the crowd favorites was a Rockette-themed number to 'Somewhere Beyond The Sea,' which involved a traditional kick-line. We also had some tap dancing to 'Yankee Doodle Dandy' and a hip hop number to 'Starships' by Nicki Minaj and 'Firework' by Katy Perry."
Jaclyn recently graduated from St. Bonaventure University, where she founded a hip hop dance team that has met with much success. Jaclyn said she plans on heading to New York City for a while to try and start a career as a dancer.
Now that Jaclyn has graduated, Justine, her younger sister who also attends St. Bonaventure, will likely take on the role of team captain. The team's performances feature adaptations of classics by the sisters, such as: "Elf," "The Wizard of Oz," "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" and Disney's "Cinderella."
Jaclyn, who is 23, said it had always been a dream of hers to be a part of Disney. She was the step-sister in Justine's version of "Cinderella," so when she saw the step-sisters at Disney during the parade she stopped to ask to take a picture with them.
"I'm 23, and I can't imagine how these little kids feel being a part of Disney - it's the place where dreams come true," Jaclyn said. "When you watch the Disney Channel and you see those performers, a lot of them start out performing at Walt Disney World Resort. So, it gives them a dream, and allows them to say that they performed at Disney, which is such an honor."
In order to get to Disney, the children had to raise funds, which they do for two years before their hard work finally pays off.
"Some of these kids have never even been outside of Jamestown, so when they work hard here it's a dream for them to go and perform at Disney," Jaclyn said. "It shows them that if you work hard you can accomplish something and make your dreams come true. After seeing the performers at Disney in the parades they realize that they can do that too, and are working even harder now."
The trip to Disney is part of a tradition started by John DeMarco and his four daughters, Vicky, MaryJo, Rosa and Gina, for whom he founded the dance studio in 1987. He attended the group's first performance at Disney before he passed away.
In addition to the Disney performance, Jaclyn and her team performed aboard a Royal Caribbean Cruise.
"We tweaked the performance to have more hip hop numbers and we had the boys dancing too," Jaclyn said. "That stage was amazing - I've never seen a theater like that. When they announced us, 'The DeMarco Sisters School of Dance' you feel honored."
The team also held a performance entitled "Magic" in May at Southwestern High School.
On Tuesday, Aug. 27, and Wednesday, Aug. 28, Jaclyn will host a hip hop workshop. This workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the DeMarco Sisters School of Dance, 423 Baker St. in Jamestown. Dancers must be 11 or older to participate in the workshop. Jaclyn will instruct participants on how to krump, vogue, and break dance; as well as teach the latest hip hop choreography. All studios and teenagers in the area are welcome to join, and participants do not have to be a student at DeMarco Sisters School of Dance. The cost of the workshop is $35, and dancers should bring a lunch. For more information or to register, call Jaclyn at 485-6144.
The DeMarco Sisters School of Dance focuses on providing area youth with an avenue for creative expression through dance, and via scholarships finds ways to ensure that everyone who is interested can participate. For more information, call 483-3469, visit sites.google.com/s- ite/demarcosistersschoolofdance or search for "DeMarco Sisters School of Dance" on Facebook.