Disney performer brings talent to local kids

MarKeith Scott, production specialist for the Harlingen school district, is a Washington, D.C. native who flew down here from Louisville, Kentucky, a couple of years ago to teach kids how to “fly” for the production of “Mary Poppins” and then for “The Little Mermaid.” Courtesy photo

HARLINGEN — “He’d fly through the air with the greatest of ease, the daring young man on the flying trapeze …”

Those iconic lyrics sound true for the life of MarKeith Scott, production specialist for the Harlingen school district.

The Washington, D.C., native flew down here from Louisville, Kentucky, a couple of years ago to teach kids how to “fly” for the production of “Mary Poppins” and then for “The Little Mermaid.”

He was “flying director” for ZFX Flying back then. In that position he flew throughout the U.S. and other parts of the world teaching people how to “fly” for their theatrical productions. This he accomplished through a complex system of lines, pulleys and harnesses.

After 2 ½ years, he was ready for a change.

“That was 290 days of travel around the world, so it’s domestic and international flying,” said Scott, 38. “You’re in a different place every week and you’re sometimes in two places every week. It was very exciting.”

However …

“The only thing is I don’t like turbulence on planes,” he said. “When you’re on a plane every single week it gets too much.”

So Scott, a devoted man of faith, asked God to give a job which would not require him to be in a plane every week, and Ta-da! Harlingen showed up on his radar. The Harlingen school district extended an offer of employment after seeing him work with students for “Mary Poppins” and “The Little Mermaid.”

“They saw how I worked with them and the patience I had with them and how they were basically just engaging in the flying and losing all sense of fear before they stepped in the wires,” he said.

He quickly sold his house, loaded up his vehicle, and drove 21 hours to Harlingen. His father, an employee of the FBI, rode with him and then flew back to D.C.

His mother is now retired from working in the public school system, but they are both active in ministry.

“They’ve always been supporters of the arts,” he said. “My brother is a music composer. We grew up, we auditioned for commercials, we did plays in church. In that time we did the huge Christmas pageants with 400 cast members and a lot of animals, pyrotechnics, flying Jesus and all that stuff.”

Rich and varied experiences seem to have prepared him well for his current work. From 2001 to 2003, he was a dancer and character performer at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. He recalls receiving “superb training to learn how to connect with kids and families.”

He then returned to the D.C. area where he worked at Six Flags America, again entertaining kids and families. From there he worked in special ed and also coached the dance team for middle and high schoolers.

These days he spends the mornings teaching dance at the Gutierrez Middle School of the Arts and Sciences. In the afternoon, he works with the dance track at the Harlingen Performing Arts Conservatory.

“The kids here are a step above anything I’ve ever dealt with,” he said. “The talent and the drive to be excellent artists is truly impressive, so every day they bring a smile to my face being able to coach them all to hopefully become successful artists one day.”

Scott and the kids are currently working on their production of “Earth Wind and Fire Dance Experience” which opens in early November. He hopes to eventually create his own theme park.

twhitehead@valleystar.com