At the end of last month, 26 Inspiration Dance Academy students and their families hopped on a plane and took a 14 hour flight all the way to Los Angeles, California, for the trip of a lifetime.
To begin our trip we all woke up bright and early, to arrive at the airport at 6am. There were definitely a few tired faces walking through customs! We checked in, went through security, and then grabbed a bite to eat before we all hopped onto the plane, feeling very nervous and excited. The next 14 hours was full of anticipation, a bit of sleep (for those lucky enough to doze off) and lots of movie watching. We all couldn’t wait until we touched down in LAX!
After 14 long hours, we finally made it to LA! The early morning city lights that we could see through the plane window as we touched down were so amazing, and we all couldn’t believe that after so much waiting, we had finally arrived. This trip was very long in the making!
After the plane landed we all made it through the airport, after waiting in those long LAX lines… except for Jayme’s mum, Bec, who for some reason ended up being taken into interrogation, because her fingerprints matched those of a criminal! Don’t worry though, the issue was sorted and both Bec and Jayme got to grab their bags and continue on the trip. It was a pretty funny start to the adventure though!
We arrived in LA at 6 o’clock in the morning, so we had the whole day ahead of us to explore. We shopped, ate, hung by the pool, and got to see some of the most famous landmarks in the world, including the Hollywood walk of Fame, and the Hollywood Sign. That same afternoon we took a hike with a lovely lady named Elise all the way up to the Hollywood sign. It was so amazing! Although we were all very tired from such a long flight, it was a great experience, and we even got to see Griffith Observatory from the Hollywood Hills. That night, as you can imagine, we all instantly fell asleep and rested up, as we had a huge day of classes coming up.
On our next day in LA, and after a good night’s rest, all 26 of us hopped onto a bus and headed over to Millennium Dance Complex, one of LA’s most famous studios. To say that it was amazing is such an understatement. The walls were full of famous faces and signatures, and the studios were full of passionate and hardworking dancers. It was pretty crazy to actually see such a famous studio with your own eyes, after seeing it on a screen for so long! Here, we were fortunate enough to take classes with some of the most amazing choreographers. We took contemporary with Donyelle and Jazz with Will, and both classes were absolutely amazing. Our eyes were opened to completely new horizons and we were taught things that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. We were lucky enough to have been given advice that, as dancers, was incredibly valuable, and we are so thankful for the lessons that we were taught. After class, (and a very good shower) we had the afternoon free to do whatever we liked. Some of us went shopping, others grabbed a bite to eat, and some of us headed over to Santa Monica Pier, which was absolutely beautiful. That night we all rested up again, ready for another huge day coming up.
The next day, we all hopped onto a bus again, but this time we headed to the EDGE Performing Arts Center, and got to see their amazing studios. We had a quick rehearsal of our show, and then got to take class from some more amazing choreographers. The senior group took an amazing lyrical/contemporary class with Emily, while the Juniors took their class with Baiden, and had a ball. Just as we did the day before at Millennium, at the EDGE we learnt so many amazing and valuable lessons that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. After class we had the afternoon at our leisure, and we all went our separate ways to explore the area again! Then it was rest time, to get ready for our day a UNIVERSAL STUDIOS!!!
We woke up bright and early the next day, to get our hair and makeup ready for our Universal Studios performance. All the students and families hopped onto a bus and drove over to the park, and we were all in shock when we pulled up to the big rotating globe. It was so hard to believe that we were actually there! After warming up and getting ready backstage for our performance, it was our time to shine. And WE KILLED IT!!! We all danced our hearts out and performed our absolute best, to the incredible cheers of our families and friends in the audience. The feeling we got on stage at Universal was really indescribable. After such an incredible performance, we all got to explore the park for the rest of the day. We went on rides, ate amazing food, and met so many movie characters, it was really an amazing day!
The next day it was time for us to head over to Anaheim, to get ready for DISNEYLAND!!! After a free morning, we all hopped back onto our bus and said goodbye to Hollywood for the last time. That night, we had a lovely group dinner at The Fifth in Anaheim, which was so amazing. We all bonded and made so many new friendships, and had a really great night. We could even see the Disney fireworks from the rooftop!
We had three whole days to spend in Disneyland, which was absolutely incredible. Our first day was completely free, so we got to spend the whole day doing whatever we wanted in the park. The feeling of walking through the gates at Disneyland is absolutely incredible. You truly go into a new world. There is music playing, people greeting you and everyone is smiling. We spent the day going on as many rides as possible, and eating as many churros as possible!!! (They were amazing by the way). After our incredible first Disney day it was time for some sleep, as we had a big workshop to prepare for the next day.
On our second Disney day, we were lucky enough to take a workshop from the amazing Heidi, who has worked on Disney shows and movies! She was incredible, and so lovey, and she taught us so many lessons about the industry and being a professional dancer. We were so lucky to listen to her wise words. We also got to learn the crazy awesome routine that she choreographed, inspired by The Incredibles! After our workshop we then got to explore the park for the remainder of the day, and it was awesome!
On our third, and sadly final day in Disneyland, it was time for us to perform. It truly felt like everything we had worked towards over the last year was leading up to this moment. And just like we did in Universal, we gave an amazing performance in Disneyland! Huge smiles and loads of energy, we burnt down the Disney stage and had the crowds going crazy! It as so amazing to know that all of our hard work had paid off, and that we had just performed at DISNEYLAND, how crazy is that?! For the rest of day we did everything that we could possibly do in Disney, went on as many rides as we could, ate as much food and we could, and most importantly, has as much fun as we could! Our time at Disneyland was truly incredible and we were so lucky that we got to experience everything in such a wonderful place.
Very sadly, when we woke up the following day, it meant that it was time to leave and to go our separate ways. Some of us hopped back onto a plane home while some of us continued onto further travel.
Overall, IDA in the USA was a once in a lifetime opportunity. The experiences we had and the things that we learnt were so unbelievably valuable. We strengthened old bonds and created so many new ones throughout the trip, and we all grew as a group. We are so grateful and lucky that we got to experience such an amazing trip, and do things that we have dreamt of for years. We grew so much as dancers and performers, and we cannot wait for what the future holds. Bring on our next trip!!!