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Life is one long dance

April E. ClarkGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Not many people can say they’ve seen the world through Winnie the Pooh’s eyes.One exception is Marcia Bickel.The Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts dance instructor is a former cast member who played the role of popular Walt Disney World characters.”I just loved seeing the kids faces – especially with Winnie the Pooh – there are so many kids who love Winnie the Pooh,” Bickel said. “That’s what the magic’s all about at Disney.”‘During her six-month internship at the world-famous resort, Bickel’s job was to pose for photos with kids and sign autographs in costume.”I did a lot of character work,” she said. “I worked with Winnie the Pooh, Max – Goofy’s son – and Pearla the White Rabbit. I’m too short to be Cinderella and too fat to be Tinkerbell.”Often Bickel would have as many as 50 kids to meet and greet in Florida’s heat and humidity – all at once.

“It was killer, but it was fun,” she said. “Those costumes, they take a toll on the body. Eighty degrees and 100 percent humidity is so hot. Six months was enough.”These days, Bickel plays a different role. She teaches kids ballet, tap, jazz and hip-hop and directs the junior and senior dance companies at the Center for the Arts.”I love it when the kids just ‘get it,’ when it all just clicks. It’s so rewarding for a teacher to know that comes from you,” she said. “They just love being told the background of dance. It’s like they’re sponges that want to soak up all this information. It’s rewarding, too.”Outside of dance class, Bickel enjoys married life and raising her 3-year-old son, Gavin. He’s the same age Bickel was when she started dancing. But instead of following his mom’s love of dancing – for the time being – Gavin prefers the martial arts.”I can’t teach him. He doesn’t like sharing his mom with the other kids,” she said. “I’ve got my little performer. Instead of dancing, he just latches on to my leg during his class and says I’m his mommy.” Bickel also keeps a busy schedule by working as a hairstylist at the Regis Salon in West Glenwood.”Everything I do for a living is a passion,” she said. “I love doing (hair) color, I love teaching dance, I love to sing. I’ll go out and do karaoke sometimes.”

Whether in character at Disney World or choreographing routines with her dance company students, Bickel knows how to perform. “I’ve danced from the age 3 and up, in recitals and competitions in Vegas, Anaheim, (Calif.), Salem, Oregon, Salt Lake City,” said the Billings, Mont. native. “I was on the drill team and took jazz, tap, and baton.”Now, Bickel teaches instead of performing and posing with kids.”I like teaching the kids now,” she said. “Once I started teaching it just felt more rewarding to me than something big. With kids, you teach them everything you know and they give and give and give. They want to learn more and more.”Bickel said one day she sees herself opening up a dance studio for special-needs children.”I grew up with special education because my mom was a special ed teacher,” she said.For now, Bickel is happy with family life in Glenwood while her husband, Warren, takes nursing classes at Colorado Mountain College. And that makes Center for the Arts director Gayle Mortell smile.



“We adore her,” Mortell said, beaming.Bickel’s a lot like Winnie the Pooh in that way.Contact April Clark: 945-8515, ext. 16601aclark@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO


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