What could be better than visiting Disney World® and going on rides, meeting iconic Disney characters, experiencing theatrical performances, and watching high-energy dance or vocal groups entertain on stage?
How about actually being in a high-energy dance or vocal ensemble, performing in front of a live audience?
Disney World gives school, college and community groups this opportunity through its Performing Arts OnStage program.
The Performing Arts OnStage Program
There are several strings to the bow of Disney World’s Performing Arts OnStage program.
For each type of ensemble (color guard, dance, choir, band, acting), the OnStage program offers workshops in which the members learn from top professionals, and then perform on stage in front of hundreds of Disney World visitors.
For a choir, for example, the program offers classes on singing styles, interpretation and vocal dynamics. In addition, a Disney vocalist will demonstrate how movement can impact song and ways vocal warm-ups enhance performance.
How to Apply for the Program
Because these school, college or community groups are going to appear on stage at Disney World, it’s necessary for them to be very good at their basic skills in whatever discipline they’re in whether it’s dance, choir, band or color guard.
Not everyone who applies is accepted however. Appearing at Disney World is quite a cachet and performance groups must compete with hundreds of groups applying from around the country.
At the most basic level, a group must have at least ten performers, who must be at least seven years old. The group’s director must choose a date that they wish to perform which can be anywhere up to a year in advance. Then, in addition to filling out an application, they must send in an audition video, and color photograph featuring the uniforms or costumes that the ensemble will wear should they be chosen for a performance. All of this is laid out at the program’s website: http://www.disneyyouth.com/our-programs/performing-arts/?CMP=VAN-DisPerformingArts.
If the application is accepted, the group’s leader will be informed and sent the information regarding the day that the performance has been scheduled, and the venue where it will take place.
At this time, each individual in the ensemble will need to purchase a performance package, which includes attendance for the various workshops offered for the group’s specialty (choir, band, dance, etc.) as well as the actual performance in front of a live audience. The cost of this package varies depending on the specialty. They will have to pay their own way to Disney World and take care of their own accommodations.
How to Make a Compelling Audition Video
The audition video is the key to being accepted for Disney World’s Performing Arts program.
It’s important, therefore, that the video be made by a professional videographer, one who has a great deal of experience in capturing the best sound and images from the group’s dancers, singers, or actors.
Here are the steps to ensuring that the video makes an impact.
1. The director should arrange for the choreographer to select the best scenes that will highlight the talent of the individuals involved. The choreography, music or scenes must be family friendly, of course.
2. Each member must have the ability required to be able to carry a tune, present a professional presence, and command the stage. If anyone is lacking in any of these areas, the director should work with him or her on a one-on-one basis.
3. The ensemble must be given as much time as possible to rehearse so that they are in complete command of their performance
4. The venue where the audition video is to be filmed must be chosen and a stage selected with appropriate lighting.
5. The videographer must have a professional video camera. Recording an audition video via a smart phone is not an option. If possible, there should be two videographers, one on either end of the stage, so that two different scenes of the performance can be captured.
6. The members of the group must perform in front of the cameras for their audition video.
7. Make the audition video fun. Include footage from both the left and right cameras. Perhaps share some bloopers if the individual recovers nicely. Share some candid footage of the performers before they begin to sing, dance or act.
8. Hire a professional editor to put the audition video together. An opening montage of the members of the group, and closing credits listing the names of all the members will look professional.
9. Submit the application and the video through the Performing Arts website.
After Being Accepted
Once a group has been informed that they’ve been accepted, the preparation doesn’t stop. Regular rehearsals need to take place to ensure that the performers continue to improve even before they get to Disney World and have the opportunity to work with those professional entertainers. This is the responsibility of the director or leader of the group.
While everyone will be excited to be going to Disney World for their performance, they will also be able to visit the park as well, go on the rides and see the shows that they themselves are not participating in.
Getting to Disney World
Depending on how far away from Florida the group is, and the financial resources of each member, it may be necessary for them to do some fund raising to cover the transportation expenses to Disney World.
Of course, once they’ve been accepted into the program it will be easier to raise money with potential sponsors.
The old standbys are bake sales and car washes. Crowdfunding is also a popular way to raise funds, using a site such as GoFundMe.com or IndieGoGo.com.
Just as the audition video must be done professionally, so must the fund-raising be.
A great way to mak the trip more affordable is to book discount vacation packages for your group. Here is a great resource for Disney Discounts.
Other Opportunities to Perform at Disney World
Disney World is always in search of youth and community performers for its parades and stage shows. In addition to its own Performing Arts OnStage program, they accept applications from selected tour operators, who will help groups put together their audition video and provide other services for a fee.
Selected Tour Operators
Stockton California Travel Guide Photo Gallery