The South Norfolk dance group selected to perform on the Videopolis stage at Disneyland Paris

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A dance troupe travels from Diss to Disneyland for the show of a lifetime.

Center Stage Studio performers have been specially selected by talent scouts at Disneyland Paris to show off their routines on the theme park’s legendary Videopolis stage next week.

Dance teacher Nicole Cottee, who runs the studio, said she was in disbelief when she was first approached by Disney officials last year.

A few dancers from the Center Stage Studio leaving for Paris. Photo: Nicole Cottee

“I got a message saying ‘would you be interested’,” said Miss Cottee, who lives in Tudor Avenue, Roydon.

“I thought it was a joke because it’s not the kind of message you get every day, but they said they found us on Facebook, because they saw that we had did a few gigs in the community.”

Miss Cottee’s class had recently taken part in a fundraising initiative to raise money for a lung cancer charity.

Nicole Cottee, pictured, teaches the class at Center Stage Studio, Thetford.  Photo by Mecha Morton.
Nicole Cottee, pictured, teaches the class at Center Stage Studio, Thetford. Photo by Mecha Morton.

The children, aged 8 to 14, meet every week at the Charles Burrell Center in Thetford.

“Disneyland asked us to do an audition video,” said Miss Cottee, 27.

“We got together to learn two jazz routines and sent the videos – then we had to wait to find out if we were successful or not.

“The kids didn’t know why they were auditioning, because I didn’t want them to be disappointed if we weren’t accepted, but they accepted us right away.”

The children – most of whom are from Diss and surrounding villages – watched a video of Mickey Mouse revealing the big news, with their parents in the room to share the moment.

“There were a few tears and a lot of screaming,” Miss Cottee said.

“A lot of them thought I was joking.

“I wanted the parents to be there because I thought it would be good for them to see the kids’ faces when they found out.”

The jubilation quickly turned into steely determination as the kids were tasked with nailing down four performances – ‘Dancing Catchy Rhythm’, ‘Skulls and Trombones’, ‘Love Today’ and ‘Hold your Dream’ – which they will perform in front of more than 300 people in Paris.

Since March, they have been meeting several times a week to rehearse before leaving on Wednesday.

During the show, which is expected to last 20 minutes, the girls in the group will wear sparkly dresses while the boy will wear a red sequined shirt and black shorts.

“They are very excited,” Miss Cottee. “We’ve done small shows before, but nothing on this scale.

“Every time I see them they give me a countdown to the day we play.”

A double-decker bus will take Miss Cottee, her 16 dancers and around 60 friends and family across the English Channel on a ferry, before they
spend four nights in a Disney
Hotel.

Their performance will take place on Thursday.

“It’s going to be a very loud bus,” joked Miss Cottee.

“I’ve been teaching kids for about four years, and it’s quite an achievement.

“I’m very proud of them.”




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