Local dance teacher gets in step with Disney

News-DemocratFebruary 6, 2014 

A local dance teacher has something to do with the magic in a touring Disney show that comes to town Saturday.

Gabrielle Goewert Bockewitz, co-owner of Encore Dance Too in Swansea, is assistant choreographer of

"Disney Junior Live On Tour! Pirate & Princess Adventure," a show featuring characters from cable TV's "Sofia the First" and "Jake and the Never Land Pirates."

The 102-city tour stops in St. Louis Saturday and Gabrielle can hardly wait.

"I haven't seen it since September," said the petite 25-year-old. "I went down to Florida this summer. That's where we rehearsed and put it together."

Gabrielle has been dancing since she was 3.

Her mom, Cheryl Goewert, owned Encore Dance Studio in Belleville and Shiloh where Gabrielle got her somewhat rocky start.

"I remember the recital," she said. "I remember crying. I didn't think I knew my dance well enough. I was nervous. I didn't dance the next year. Then I saw the costumes for the recital. I wanted to wear them. Mom said, 'Only if you start dancing again.' From then on, I found a love for it."

After graduating from O'Fallon Township High School in 2007she moved to Los Angeles to study dance at California State University. She was back home 1 1/2 years later, teaching with her mom and at other studios.

Gabrielle toured the country with Totally Tap, an intensive tap workshop. In January 2010, she auditioned for Disney Live! In June, she was cast as a dancer in Mickey's Rock 'n' Roll show, followed by dance captain of Disney's "Phineas and Ferb: The Best Live Tour Ever." That led to the assistant choreographer opportunity.

"It was really a dream come true," said Gabrielle. Director/choreography Fred Tallaksen) is a creative genius."

Her job was to make sure the productions looked clean and precise. "I was there to help Fred with what he needed. There are 16 numbers in the show. We had a lot of work on our hands. I liked working with him because he's always optmistic about everything."

During the show, Mickey and Minnie Mouse lead the audience on an adventure that begins with an interactive pre-show featuring Doc McStuffins, a doctor to toys and stuffed animals.

Next comes a journey to Enchancia where Sofia, her step-siblings and the entire kingdom are preparing for the annual friendship festival. Sofia, with help from Cinderella, looks for just the right gift to give the royal subjects.

A visit to Never Land follows. Jake and his Yo Ho pirate friends battle Captain Hook to unlock treasure hidden inside a mysterious volcano. Peter Pan makes a special appearance.

"This show so awesome." Gabrielle said. "There's so much going on for little kids. Parents will enjoy it, too. The creativity is amazing. I can't say enough good things about it."

Between helping with choreography and seeing the show, Gabrielle married Chad Bockewitz on Oct. 5, 2013.

"He's got two left feet," she said. "but that's OK. He supported me so much through my whole journey."

If you go:

What: Disney Junior Live On Tour! Pirate and Princess Adventure

When: noon and 3 and 6 p.m. Saturday

Where: Chaifetz Arena, 1 S. Compton Ave., St. Louis

Cost: $18 to $60

Information 800-293-5949 or www.thechaifetzarena.com

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