Fifteen New Plymouth dance students are heading to the happiest place on earth to compete in a highland dancing competition.
The Paris International Highland Gathering Championship takes place at at Disneyland Paris every year, and for the first time Highland dancer, choreographer and dance teacher Morgan Bamford is taking 15 students from the Morgan B School of Dance.
Leaving on November 16, the students, accompanied by parents, will compete in the five-day Disney-themed competition, which runs from November 22 to 26.
"We've been working really hard on Disney-themed dances," Bamford said. She has been preparing the kids, aged 7-15, for the competition since March. "It's just something that I thought was such a cool idea and the kids are getting to dance for fun."
"Generally you're dancing to celtic music, so it's been cool for the kids to dance to Disney music." Performing 14 dances in categories such as duo, solo and group dance over the five days, their main performance is focused on the 2016 Disney animation Moana, with pois and kapa haka incorporated to represent New Zealand. "I just thought New Zealand kind of fits," Bamford said. It's the first big overseas competition for many students who are going to have fun and come away with Disney-themed medals. "A lot of them are hoping to do well but they've all got different goals. Some of them just want to get a medal and they'll be happy with that while some are wanting to go to win."
At the end of the five days the students will be performing in the Stars on Parade, a procession with the Disney characters that runs along the main strip of Disneyland Paris, before heading off with their families for a well-earned holiday.