Need a lovely waltz? No problem. Want to tweak your cha cha to make it show better on the floor? I've got you. You want a studio showcase based on the Rocky movies? Ok, that's trickier, but I'm confident I could do it. But there is one task that never gets easier - one challenge I struggle with every year: the Christmas show.
Not every studio does a Christmas show, mind you. Some go with a more broadly themed 'Holiday Showcase'. Others host a Winter Gala with just a few holiday songs sprinkled in. Regardless, this is the time of year for your "Santa Baby"s, your litany of Christmas-based jives (I'm looking at you, Mariah Carey), and a slew of foxtrots about not getting cold or sleigh rides or a missing pair of incisors.
It should be simple right? After all, these are classic songs we all know and love. Every December we return to them like we do the electronics aisle at Target. (Where are the blasted batteries?!) They are familiar in every way, and that is the problem. Each year someone like me has to figure out a way to choreograph holiday routines that don't look just like the ones from the year before, or the year before that, or...you get it.
And repetition isn't the only pitfall. Take the song "Mary Did You Know?" - a modern day favorite of sacred Christmas music. It is a beautiful melody that asks some profoundly introspective questions. It is also a rumba. Get it wrong and things can get awkward really fast. Who wants a side of sultry cucarachas with their theological epistemology? Or what about the people who don't care for Christmas music? What do they do?? The go to song of course is, "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch." I had fun the first few times I choreographed it. Now, I wouldn't touch it with a... 39-and-a-half foot poooooole!
So why do we do it? Why do we dance to these songs every year? Why do we continue to smile every time we see a cha cha to "Feliz Navidad" or cry over a haunting Viennese to "Carol of the Bells"? Why do I actually LOVE choreographing routines this time of year, despite how it may sound?
It's because in this crazy world of politics and polemics, fast food and no food, and fighting everything from traffic to the thoughts in our own mind, it's nice to have something we can turn to that feels like it hasn't changed. And sure, we could just listen to these songs, but dancing to them makes them more special. Our minds reach back deep to find memories of Christmas plays at school or standing on Daddy's feet as you swing dance to Brenda Lee. We become children at heart, the one feeling in this world that can never get old.
However you celebrate this holiday season, may it find you happy, healthy, and blessed. Now, put on some Mariah, and go dance that jive!
To subscribe to Dance Beat online click here