These Dance Students Didn’t Perform in The Big Parade, But They Still Danced Their Hearts Out
by James Coulter
They may not have performed their big routine in the big parade, but 20 young dance students from Davenport still danced their hearts out in a performance they spent weeks practicing.
Studio C School of Dance and Production from Davenport took their troupe of dance students and their families to Gatlinburg, TN, where they were scheduled to perform in an annual holiday parade. However, upon learning the event was canceled, the dancers instead performed their routine in their hotel’s parking garage.
Karina Michel Feld, one of the mothers of the young dancers, and the executive producer of Tallulah Films, recorded the performance on her iPhone and sent the footage to a local television station, which later aired on a local news broadcast.
“[I’m] just so happy I was able to help in some way,” Feld said. “They are all so talented and such dedicated dancers. Parade or not, they still put their heart and soul into it…We feel very fortunate to be a part of Studio C!”
Marcia Legg, instructor and owner of Studio C in Davenport, taught song and dance for the past 31 years in Florida. She previously taught in Pennsylvania before moving south in 1989.
She and her students have traveled over the country to perform their dance routines. They have performed for many parades and half-time shows for professional soccer leagues. They performed for the 2017 Orange Bowl half-time show, Dolly Parton’s homecoming, and even the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade twice!
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, Legg and her dance troupe had not been able to perform since March, and they did not return to class until earlier this September. So when she received an invitation for her students to perform at an annual holiday parade in Gatlinburg, TN, she immediately jumped at the opportunity, she explained.
“I told them we had the invitation, and they were so excited,” Legg said. ” I knew for some of them it would be challenging moneywise…So I did not know if they wanted to do this, and they did.”
Legg spent weeks and weeks listening to music to find the best song for their big performance. After making her selection, she then created the best dance routine for their venue. As they would have performed along a broad four-lane street, she decided upon an elaborate Rockette-style performance with ten lines assuming various formations, she said.
Her students spent countless hours and weeks practicing the routine. They attended their regular classes, as well as dedicated extra hours on Mondays. When they traveled north, they practiced the night and morning before the parade.
On the day of their big performance, all 20 dancers and their families gathered at the parking garage to wait for the shuttle to the staging area for the parade. However, they inevitably heard the announcement over the loudspeaker that the parade was canceled. The event was canceled due to inclement weather with rain and cold temperatures, Legg said.
Feld knew her daughter and the rest of the girls were disappointed. They had 654 miles north (1,308 miles round trip) and practiced countless hours for their big routine, and now they were not going to be able to perform it at the parade. She decided that the show would go on anyway.
“The hardest thing was seeing Marcia and all the girls ready to perform and knowing how much they had put into rehearsing and getting there,” she said. “The thought of going back to the hotel and not having a show didn’t seem right. We all came together and made it happen…It was amazing.”
“I approached the kids [about the news] and not one of them complained, not one of them gave me attitude,” Legg said. “They had the most joyful hearts, and I am so proud of them. They said, yes, let’s do it.”
Feld used her iPhone to record the dance routine. Another parent drove her car up the ramp and used the headlights to light the performance. The result was a big routine performed as though it was for a big audience, Legg said.
“And those dancers danced like they had the major audience of 80 thousand people who were promised to be there,” she said. “They were dancing like they were dancing for others and not just their parents.”
The performance video was sent to a local television station, which decided to air it during their news broadcast later that evening. When the girls watched themselves on television, the entire hotel room floor erupted with their cheers of joy, Legg said.
“They screamed so loud we had one side of the fifth-floor roaring, and security had to come up and check on us,” she said. “They were so joyful, they got to perform, and they got to watch them perform.”
see video of performance here: