Janesville girls to perform in televised Disney parade
JANESVILLE Three Janesville girls will make their national TV debuts on Christmas day as part of the annual Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade TV special.
Emma DiStefano, 10, and Kayley Ellis and Isabelle Gerzenshtein, 9, were part of a Roscoe, Ill.-based dance group that was invited to perform in the parade, which was recorded at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., in late November.
Emma and Kayley rehearsed their parts with the Broadway cast of “Newsies” and the show’s Tony Award-winning choreographer, Christopher Gattelli. They performed in the “Carrying the Banner” with the cast on Main Street in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.
Isabelle performed in a production from the Disney-Pixar animated film “Brave.” She was among a select few chosen to dance around a maypole while holding a ribbon.
“They said it was quite an honor,” said Maria Gerzenshtein, Isabelle’s mother.
The girls were thrilled, but they also got a taste of the hard work that goes into show business. The taping of the “Newsies” production began at 8 a.m., but they had to be ready by 4 a.m. and started their six-hour rehearsal before the sun rose, said Emma’s mother, Heather DiStefano.
“Disney was kind to light up the castle for the dancers to see,” Heather said.
The girls’ performances were just one part of the show, which was recorded in pieces and then edited together to look like a parade, Heather said.
Asked about their favorite parts of the experience, Kayley said, “probably getting to dance down Main Street.”
Emma said it was the entire experience. “Just performing at Disney was really cool.”
“I liked the dancing,” Isabelle said.
The girls also performed a “Jingle Bells” routine in another Disney Christmas parade on Main Street in Magic Kingdom. And they performed their competition dances at Hollywood Studios.
The girls were among 17 members of Turning Pointe Dance Company/Kids Spot who were invited to perform. They were selected from among hundreds of audition videos, according to a Turning Pointe news release.
Emma is the daughter of David and Heather DiStefano. Kayley is the daughter of Greg and Pam Ellis. Isabelle Gerzenshtein is the daughter of Jacob and Maria Gerzenshtein.
Watch the parade
The Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade holiday special airs on ABC from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday, Christmas Day.