By Vanessa Broadbent
There’s a carnival coming to town, complete with fortune tellers, clowns, belly dancers and even a few stilt walkers.
This Friday evening, the Frank Venables Theatre will serve as a circus tent, hosting The Greatest Gala on Earth, put on by Dance Oasis.
Fifteen students from the Osoyoos dance studio are applying to perform in Disneyland this fall and they’re raising funds to help them get there.
The students will be participating in Dance the Magic, a program where dancers learn from Disney’s best and then showcase their newly-learned choreography in the park’s daily parade, as well as on one of the entertainment stages.
“It’s so exciting for them,” said Chrissie Serry, Dance Oasis’ artistic director.
“When they’re at Disneyland they get a tour of how Disney works, they get to take workshops and they do mock auditions so they know what it would be like to audition to work at Disney.”
This will be Dance Oasis’ second time making an appearance at Disneyland; Serry took a team of dancers to participate in Dance the Magic four years ago.
“It’s an amazing opportunity,” she said. “A lot of these kids haven’t been to Disneyland and haven’t had the opportunity to travel like this, so it’s really exciting.”
The application process to the program includes making a 15-minute audition tape, which Serry says the team is currently in the middle of, with the goal of having it submitted by May.
The studio is hoping to raise a total of $25,000, with the carnival only one of many events and fundraisers they’ll be hosting in the upcoming months.
Along with ticket sales going towards the program, the dancers will also host a bake sale, concession and art auction before they perform. There will also be a raffle and silent auction.
“We’re trying to generate as much funds as we can in the lobby an hour and a half before the show and at intermission,” Serry said.
The hour and a half long show features over 50 performers from Dance Oasis, as well as a few from Penticton and Grand Forks, mainly showcasing the pieces they’ve been working on for upcoming competitions.
Serry said the performers are excited, but competition season brings out the nerves as well. However, she said the studio regularly brings home winning medals.
“For a small town, we do incredibly well at these competitions. There’s a lot of big-name dance studios that we go up against and we often win … Our kids are placing in categories where there’s like 30 dancers, which is pretty insane.”
The Greatest Gala on Earth takes place this Friday, March 16, at the Frank Venables Theatre. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the Dance Oasis studio, or the Wander Café in Osoyoos.