Midwest City —
Cara’s Kids have been invited to perform this summer in Branson, Mo., as a result of a musical act that was impressive enough to beat out 799 other acts during last week’s Talent on Parade competition at Rose State College.
A talented group of dancers from Cara’s Kids, attired in flapper dresses, accompanied by a funny little man with a Hitler mustache, overwhelmed the other acts, including 49 acts entered from Cara Crawford’s Central Oklahoma Dance Center, located at 106 E. Main.
In all, 37 different dance studios from Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas performed. But as congested as the talent traffic was, in the end a 12-year-old Ada resident, Jett Black, virtually became the 21st century version of the legendary Charlie Chaplin.
The real Charlie Chaplin (who, incidentally, co-wrote the 1930s hit song Smile) would be 124 years old by now had he not died on Christmas Day 36 years ago and 24 years before his current Ada replacement — Black — was born.
"He’s our little boy,” said Crawford, a 26-year instructor at her studio. “The act begins when he opens the door for a date. The girl comes through the door, then a second girl and a third girl. Like all Charlie Chaplin routines of so long ago, he is quickly up to his famous black hat with problems that require his constant creativity for survival.
Jett must have given the screen legend of silent and talking movies a run for his money. The 10 other 12- and 13-year olds were impressive as well.
They included Kate Notter, Madison Yates, Carli Manwell, Kaitlin Blankenship, Whitni Simpson, Maddie Bacon, Chandler Crawford, Nicole Lowry, Emily Bagwell and McKinlee Stafford.
“It was a neat thing,” Crawford said. “They (judges) were impressed, and he (Jett) was a perfect Charlie Chaplin.”
Not by accident, either.
“We’ve been working on it since last December,” Crawford said.
Don Mirault, who creates, produces and directs Kidz Roc with Kim and Talent on Parade, emailed Crawford after the Ada group’s performance and invited the Charlie Chaplin dance team to perform on July 27-28 in Branson.
“Everyone loved your routine,” Mirault wrote Crawford. “I can’t wait to see it.
“I want you to picture your routine on a professional stage with smoke, lighting and a video backdrop,” Mirault told Crawford in his email. ”We have three large video screens and we can alternate between stock footage that matches Charlle Chaplin to live footage shots of the dancers and we can do this on the fly.”
He told Crawford he wanted to provide her with information for students' parents so they could help make the decisions that would send the group to a very large stage at the Clay Cooper Theater in Branson.
The dancers would have to arrive by 8 a.m. July 26, but they can — with their parents' permission — financial help and a fundraising drive or two — learn their entrances and exits and see their lighting, video and special intro ahead of time.
“We will stage the bows at that time,” Mirault said.
The Saturday performance would be scheduled between 1-4 p.m. On Sunday, July 28, there will be one show only at 1 p.m.
Mirault told Crawford to let him know if the group can be in Branson, and he said his group will select 17 routines for the two-day event out of 10,000 acts.
He’s got 16 to go to fill out his slate.
Last year’s ticket prices were $28, with a three-show package around $70. The kids will also get a special rate on hotel rooms of $50 per room per night.
He said the dancers will also get a “real professional credit” for being in the show.
Crawford said the Ada dancers will repeat their performance for a local audience on May 18 at Hallie Brown Performing Arts Center at East Central University.”
Crawford said the Central Oklahoma Dance Center has, in the past, sold Adaopoly games, which contain local businesses and landmarks in a Monopoly-type board game. The dancers sold those to raise money in the past and they have more of the games they can sell this time around.
“I really want to thank the businesses who donated the board game for Cara’s Kids," Crawford said. “I’m just thrilled to be honored and especially for the dancers to have the opportunity to perform in a professional show in Branson.”