Performing in the Big Apple
Twelve year olds know how to enjoy life. Twins, Sara and Maci Whitton have been dancing with the stars, which is every young girl’s dream.
One of the twins’ greatest thrills was performing at the New York Lincoln Center in December 2007 with Dino, who hosted the “Christmas in New York” program where the Children’s Dance Troupe performed.
“The tour to New York was so fun and exciting,” said Maci. “The show in New York City went great and I loved meeting Natalie Cole, Denzel Washington, and his wife, Pauletta. We went shopping in New York a lot. It was really exciting to be there at Christmas time.”
“New York to me was a very fun and busy trip since we only got to stay there for a couple of days,” said Sara. “The most exciting thing that happened was we got to see the Rockettes and be in a show at the Lincoln Center and meet wonderful people!”
There were nine children, ages nine through thirteen, in Dino’s Children’s Dance Troupe. Sara and Maci performed three numbers during the show, the last being a duet as Russian dancers.
“We were the smallest dancers,” said one of the petite twins. “Except for one boy,” added the other twin.
The girls practice four nights a week at ARTS, Arts Revealing the Son, located at Western and Covell in Edmond. They have been in dance recitals since three years old and perform a variety of dances such as ballet, jazz, tap, and musical theatre.
Naturally, they are very much alike. Maci is a little taller, however, she quickly adds, “but Sara is the oldest.” Being sisters, the girls can practice together at home, although they admit they mostly just play around.
Maci’s favorite restaurant is CiCi’s Pizza since her brother works there, while Sara’s favorites are Subway and Ted’s.
Both like to shop, but while Maci prefers to play sports when she is not dancing, Sara would rather spend time with her friends. Maci likes pink and Sara likes blue.
In 2006 and 2007, the identical twins were chosen through audition to perform with Dino, the grand pianist and premier performer who is America’s piano showman. An international television host, Dino has entertained at Branson, Missouri for the last twelve years. Young performers with the Children’s Dance Troupe are selected from all over the country. In 2007, five of the nine children, including the Whitton twins, were chosen from Oklahoma.
“I love working with Mr. Dino and Mrs. Cheryl (Dino’s wife) because they are the nicest people I have ever met!” said Sara.
Performances with Dino brought a lot of joy to the twins. “I liked seeing the audience and people,” said Sara. “It made me dance better when I got a good response.”
The girls attend Deer Creek Middle School, although Mrs. Whitton tutors them during their travels. Their regular teachers worked with them so they would not get behind in their studies. “Sometimes it was hard to focus on school,” Maci said.
One advantage that traveling brought was the sights they saw, like an Amish town in Shipshewana, Indiana, where they learned about the Amish culture.
“It helped when our friends and family came to see us perform,” said Sara. “Several came while we were in Branson and it made it easier to be away from home.”
After tour, the girls always look forward to going back home to see their dad, their 17-year-old brother, Drew, and their dog. Drew attends Deer Creek High School.
The Whitton twins agree their favorite place to dance is the Lincoln Center in New York and they plan to audition with Dino again this year.
Also performing that magical night was Natalie Cole, Pauletta Washington, the Manhattan Pops Orchestra and the Christian Cultural Center Choir. These twelve year old twins truly did get to “dance with the stars.”