Dance is ‘Happening’ for the Holidays

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company’s “Holiday Happenings” Show

By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company performs "Holiday Happenings"

It’s beginning to look a lot like … yeah, yeah, yeah.

But don’t get all Grinch-y just yet. In fact, you can hold your yawn and ho-hum attitude for the next gingerbread house on the block or vision of a sugar plum that dances in you head. Because when it comes to “Holiday Happenings,” the latest show for the second company of Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC2), there’s not a smidgen of room for a “been there, seen that” mood.

“What makes “Holiday Happenings” so special is that we get to use the fine art of contemporary dance — something a good number of people might be intimidated by or perceive as too difficult to understand — in a way that they will find truly enjoyable,” said DCDC2 Director Shonna Hickman-Matlock in a news release. “I love to see our audience light up and respond to our work.”

The show, DCDC2’s first full-length program, will be at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4 at the Boll Theatre in the Kennedy Union on the University of Dayton’s campus.

The show will feature recorded music by holiday favorites, including Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, Kirk Whalum, Whitney Houston, Take Six, Lionel Hampton and Kathleen Battle. Musical selections include typical holiday fare, like “Ave Maria,” “Joy to the World,” “Merry Christmas Baby,” “Auld Lang Syne,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and “My Favorite Things.”

“’Holiday Happenings’ is not a traditional story ballet,” Hickman-Matlock said. “It keeps in the spirit of Christmas by offering a variety of music and holiday themes. There is something for every one to enjoy – from young to old.”

Guest choreographer, Robert Priore, a former DCDC2 member who currently performs with City Dance Ensemble, will premiere a piece for which he drew inspiration from the 1940’s World War II era. Arts Curriculum Education Director and resident choreographer Crystal Michelle will feature a piece that takes a comedic look at how elves work at Santa’s workshop, and DCDC dancer Amy Jones will debut “A Reflection of Christmas” set to her favorite holiday music, “Carol of the Bells” by the American Boy Choir, “Stille Nacht” by Mannheim Steamroller and a piano solo of “Carol of the Bells” by George Winston.

“I based the piece around memories of playing in the snow with friends, the good times my family and I have had over past Christmas holidays, the love and support of family and friends, the peaceful, calm feeling you get when you step outside after the snow has fallen and everything is still, and, finally, the frantic frenzy of a wild snowstorm,” Jones said.

The program will also include a montage of holiday music favorites choreographed by Hickman-Matlock, Debbie Blunden-Diggs and more by Crystal Michelle.

“Because there are several choreographers presenting works in this concert, the audience will be able to enjoy many different styles of dance and will also be able to experience dance without already knowing the storyline and knowing what to expect,” Jones said. “While watching ‘Holiday Happenings’ the audience will have a chance to relate to the choreographers vision and create their own ‘Christmas Story’, through the movements and passion that the dancers bring to the stage.”

No sugar plums required.

For ticket information, please call Qarrianne McClellan (“Q”) at (937) 228-3232, ext.100 or visit

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