Not every song in the Cangelosi Dance Project’s Holiday Mix has a holiday theme, but they all connect to the spirit of the season.
Sometimes it’s a favorite Christmas carol, other times a song about family and friendship.
- Then there’s the moment when mermaids spin seasonal magic.
- IT’S ALL PART OF THE DANCE COMPANY’S 10TH HOLIDAY MIX, WHICH WILL BE STAGED SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, DEC. 20-21, IN THE Manship Theatre.
- The production’s title refers to a mix of dance styles and choreography. And, of course, music.
- And Millenique Brown chose “Murmuring Mermaids” for the holiday season because of its fluidity.
- “It has a calming effect,” she says. “Choreography always begins with a song that you like. The music has a message that you want to present through dance. I heard this song and fell in love with it.”
- Though the dance is Brown’s creation, she’s won’t be the one on stage.
“If the choreographer stays out of the dance, he or she won’t be placing themselves in the spotlight,” says Kris Cangelosi, artistic director. “They concentrate more on the creation of the dance for their fellow company members.”
Cangelosi’s professional company members — Campbell Wall, Marianne Alford Wascom, Aaron Lafitte, Sophie Davis and Hannah Willson — will make Brown’s work sparkle on stage.
But the professional company represents only a handful of dancers in the Holiday Mix.
- “We have over 80 dancers in this show,” Cangelosi says. “They’re divided into four companies, from our children’s company through middle school and high school. They’ll be performing dances to everything from traditional gospel to Christian rock to holiday hymns.”
Add in such fun carols as “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree,” and the program’s holiday mix seems complete. But expect some not-so-traditional songs, too, such as “Stand By Me” and “Save A Life.” While not usually sung around a Christmas tree, they have a way of projecting a Christmas message.
“Sometimes we go with the lyrics of the music and what they’re saying,” Cangelosi says. “Other times we go with the whole feeling of the music. In ‘Save A Life,’ the message is about supporting each other and making sure that we’re good with one another at this time of year.”
In “Save A Life,” which Cangelosi choreographed, Lafitte, the only male dancer, symbolically shoves away surrounding female members as they try to help him.
Lafitte eventually accepts his fellow dancers’ helping hands, and the group becomes one. The message is powerful.
“The show is joyful,” adds Brown, who is in her ninth year with the company. “It reminds people to be joyful and to support each other.”
“This is one of the things that makes the Holiday Mix different from our other performances,” says Lafitte, a fourth-year company member. “It’s really a mix — there’s something in it for the whole family, for everyone.”
- CAST: Alyssa DeGruy, Presley Matt, Catalina Flores, Morgan Holmes, Ellen Toups, Sarah Schmeeckle, Avery Brown, Paige Ullrich, Adele Babin, Lily McCain, Vivienne Leachman, Kate Trahan, Naima Wilson, Lily Crawford, Marie Helm, Delany Dantin, Sarah Lee, Kristen Wilhelm, Auset Adams, Sofie Guruli, Ceceila Laborde, Morgan Simmons, Mary-Kate Frederick, Sydeny Hertzog, Margaret Moe. Isabella Richard, Sophia T. Hall, Hannah Kimbrough, Vivian Toups, Avery Denicola, Elle Ellewood, Lauren Flatau, Carrington Lissard, Aubrey Toups, Caroline Melville, Anna Malloy Kimble, Katherine Fivgas, Madeline Willson, Leslie Burks, Joanna McBride, Vivian Dille, Jemma Wood, Rebecca Bateman, Juliana Smith, Ava Ventress, Isabella Lalonde, Avery Oubre, Madi Bell, Elizabeth Usher, Claire Cooper, Angelique Francois, Lindyn Kim, Margie Williams, Rayne Daniel, Eliana Levy, Elexis Selmon, Ali Thibodaux, Shelby Aydell, Molly Shepherd, Eliana Levy, Madison Henderson, Sophie Davis, Millenique Brown, Lauren Reed, Zahrah Adams, Khiem Truong, Judie Williams, Elise Marchand, Claire Toups, Mimi Gianfala, Hannah Willson, Aaron Laffite, Marianne Alford, Campbell Wall.