By Darren Lum
After taking the stage with hundreds in the Pan Am Games opening ceremonies Dawson Hutchings can say he has fulfilled a lifelong dream.
His mother Kelly said her son was inspired to pursue dance at 18 months old after seeing a production at Walt Disney World in Florida.
“At that age you don’t think it’ll mean anything but whenever somebody asked him what he was going to do when he grew up he would say ‘I’m going to work for Cirque du Soleil” she said. “So at 12 if anything he has taken something off his bucket list.”
The J.D. Hodgson Elementary School student thoroughly embraced the opportunity to receive direction and mingle with cast members of Cirque du Soleil.
He loved most of the experience but could have done without waking up at 6 a.m. and the 10-plus hour rehearsals.
Learning most of the cast members started at 12 the same age as him it gave the Haliburton Dance Academy student with nine years of dance experience hope that he will become a regular Cirque du Soleil cast member.
Going into it they both knew this performance was going to be a spectacle and the opening ceremonies didn’t disappoint either of them.
Both agreed to secrecy promising not to reveal the show to anyone before it was unveiled to more than 40000 people in the audience and close to five million people watching on television.
Even before the 90 hours of rehearsals over close to 16 days in Toronto Hutchings was prepared to make her son’s dream a reality no matter what expense.
“I would give the shirt off my back for him to accomplish something like this” she said.
Hutchings is thankful to the Schells for sharing in this experience.
In particular Lisa Schell’s aunt who had a condominium on the lake front alleviated some of the costs.
Hutchings learned of the open auditions for the Pan Am Games opening ceremonies through Facebook.
Upon learning she asked her son’s friend and local dancer Jordy Schell.
Having Jordy there and then making it through the three auditions enabled Dawson to follow through.
Although Hutchings didn’t get to see the performance while at the Rogers Centre acting as a chaperone for the show backstage.
Now that she has seen the show several times she has a greater appreciation for the work that goes into that type of production.
“It’s just amazing. Every one of those little parts has been done individually and for them to bring it together so amazingly is just incredible” she said.