Remember the magic

Four HighSteppers chosen to attend Disney World for dance camp


Wearing masks and Disney ears, distinguished dancers from the HighSteppers team pose in front of the Magic Kingdom. They were chosen to attend a dance camp at Orlando’s Walt Disney World during spring break. Submitted photo

Story by Emily McMaster, copy editor

Spring break holds many hopes for relaxation and vacations for students. For Texas HighStepper junior Madison Brown and seniors Emily McMaster, Sara Ottinger and Sarah Stark, the time off from school brought an opportunity of a lifetime: A Walt Disney World official performing arts experience.

“During officer camp this previous summer, we auditioned for the Disney World Danceline Elite trip by performing a pom routine in front of judges,” Brown said. “I was glad to make the elite dance group so that I would have the opportunity to travel to Disney World.”

The HighStepper Officers and Social Officers all received the honor of Danceline Elite in June. The remaining HighSteppers participated in the audition in August with a majority success. Although many were eligible to go to Disney World, only four decided to go.

“I have always loved Disney World and I’m so glad I went over spring break,” Stark said. “It was really nice to take a break from the stress of schoolwork and college things to just have fun and act like a kid.”

Upon the arrival at Disney World, dancers attended a two hour dance class with a previous Disney World performer and current choreographer. The class was held at a Disney World Resort practice stage and consisted of a warm up, jazz routine and audition routine. At the end of the class, each dancer received exclusive performing arts Mickey Mouse ears.

“Taking the dance class at Disney was an impactful experience because it was so much different than what we experience in drill team. With a teacher that has both danced and worked for Disney for decades, it was really interesting to see a point of view so much more out there and theatrical,” Ottinger said. “She taught us the importance of the face and arms during dance rather than the technicality within the feet and truly emphasized that we enjoy ourselves and feel the music while we dance instead of just going through the motions. Being able to dance in an environment like that was, though nerve-wracking at times, truly eye-opening to me as a dancer.”

With a teacher that has both danced and worked for Disney for decades, it was really interesting to see a point of view so much more out there and theatrical.”

— Sara Ottinger

The following three days were reserved for fun at the Disney Parks. An assemblage of thrilling rides, magical shows, elaborate face paint and lasting memories characterized the trip. Each day was reserved for a new park with new fun experiences.

“When you go to Disney World with friends, they push you to do fun things like ride scary rides and eat junk food as much as possible,” Brown said. “I got to create thousands of memories I never want to forget.”

Disney World truly provided a magical spring break experience for the elite dancers. For McMaster, Ottinger and Stark, this trip doubled as a senior spring break vacation. It was a rare opportunity to dance with professionals while creating final high school memories.

“This ended up being like a senior trip for some of us,” Stark said. “I was happy to have this dance opportunity and make memories with my friends since we will be attending different schools next year.”