Life is not just about chasing dreams; it’s about making those dreams into realities. When that dream is to dance on Broadway in New York City, it can seem almost unattainable. However, for the 15 members of the City of Santa Clara’s Parks and Recreations Elite Dance Team (EDT) taught by Linnea Sheehy — Miss Linnea to her students — that dream became a reality on July 26.
The chance to Dance on Broadway, at the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York, came by way of a phone call.
“Two weeks prior to the phone call I received from Dance the Magic, we were in Disneyland where we were chosen to…lead the parade [for Dancing on Main Street], which is quite an honor,” Sheehy explained. “I was in the grocery store with my children [when Dance the Magic] asked us to be the West Coast Representative. I was shocked and excited. But when I found out it was in July, I thought there was no way we can do this — it was 10 weeks away and we had just had Disneyland.
“I contacted a few of the girls,” continued Sheehy. “and said, ‘should we do this?’ and it was unanimous. So, we jumped in — we had to book everything within three weeks. We did receive a small scholarship from Dance the Magic for the kids, which was nice. It was one of those things, how do you say ‘no’ because you may not get the opportunity ever again. It was quite an honor.”
The dancers — ranging in age from 13 to 18 — their parents and Sheehy all pulled together to ensure the trip was successful.
“It was really a wild experience,” said Sabrina, an Archbishop Mitty High School senior. “But it was one of the best experiences. There was so much to do but… I wouldn’t have it any other way. I was with 14 of my other best friends and it was an amazing experience.”
Overall there were five teams according to Sheehy. The opening number was Aladdin, while “A Friend Like Me” was the finale, performed by Character Jazz Routines, also known as Musical Theater, which featured all 15 dancers. They also performed “The Nicest Kids in Town,” from Hairspray, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy — a Jazz Routine with four dancers — and a Tap Routine, Broadway Rag, with five dancers.
Natalie, the team’s captain, performed in all five of the dance numbers. Sophia, at 13 years old, is the youngest dancer.
“We will be attending another Disneyland parade next Christmas,” said Sheehy. “The question is whether it will be at Disneyland or Disney World? They have a Christmas performance they do with the Rockettes, which would be pretty amazing. The problem is there’s so many opportunities.
“The reason we do it with Dance the Magic, is it is a Disney Arts program,” continued Sheehy. “I feel very comfortable knowing everything they will be doing will be age-appropriate.”
For more information on the City of Santa Clara Park’s and Recreation Center’s Dance program, visit their department’s webpage santaclaraca.gov/government/departments/parks-recreation. For more information on the Dance the Magic program, visit their webpage www.dancethemagic.com.