Center Stage Dance Academy (CSDA – had the esteemed honor of performing at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL on November 1, 2011. After being asked by the Disney selection team to submit an audition video back in May, CSDA was chosen above a number of other schools to perform a 25-minute show at the resort’s Downtown Disney.

The studio’s competition team was selected as part of the Disney Performing Arts program that allows bands, choirs, dancers, auxiliary teams and other groups a chance to showcase their talents in front of a Disney audience. Getting a real life experience, Center Stage was invited to perform live on the Waterside Stage in Downtown Disney. The stage is nestled between 20 restaurants and more than 30 shopping locations, making the dancers a focal point for the international audience. The studio performed eight numbers in various dance styles including hip hop, contemporary, jazz, and tap.

As part of this once in a lifetime opportunity, Center Stage dancers also participated in one of Disney’s world-class workshops. Run as a simulated audition process, students participated in a clinic like no other. Having to quickly learn choreography and “audition” to be a Disney cast member complete with an individual Q&A, CSDA’s dancers were schooled on proper audition attire, how to make yourself stand out from the crowd, how to create an effective resume and head shot, attitude, teamwork, and the importance of technique and versatility. The workshop ended in a dance party with none other than Goofy!

“The whole Disney experience was not only fun, but so educational, especially for my older students,” said studio owner and artistic director Debbie Nowotnik. “It was so great for them to really see what the audition process would be like and get a taste of what it’s like to be a Disney cast member. A few of them have even set their sights on dancing in the Parks upon graduating high school!”

Nowotnik was also happy to see the focus Disney instructors placed on ballet technique and versatility. “A lot of kids think if they want to be a dancer in music videos, they only need to take hip hop classes. Not only is there so much more to it than that, most colleges require 5-8 years of ballet training and modern technique training. It was good for the kids to hear that from someone other than me for a change.”

In addition to being named Northwest Herald Newspaper’s 2011 Readers’ Choice Award as One of the Best Dance Studio/Instruction in McHenry County, Center Stage Dance Academy finished up their 2010-2011 competition season at nationals with 15 first-place awards as well as several Judges’ Choice Awards. Having formed competition teams in 2008 with just a small group, Center Stage has grown and shown amazing improvement in the last 3 years.

Center Stage Dance Academy ( located in Huntley, IL is committed to providing professional dance training to all its participants at every level of dance. With amazing talented and qualified instructors, the studio offers recreational programs as well as an extensive competitive team. Their reputation for technique and quality training sets CSDA apart from other studios. For more information, contact Center Stage Dance Academy owner and artistic director, Debbie Nowotnik at 847-669-2510 or e-mail[email protected].