DCDC’s virtual ‘Home for the Holidays’ concert starts Saturday

Jazzy “My Favorite Things” is among the dances celebrating the joy and soulfulness of the season

Credit: CONT

Credit: CONT

Following on the heels of an excellent concert saluting the music of Marvin Gaye, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company returns with “Home for the Holidays,” a virtual presentation slated Saturday, Dec. 26 through Tuesday, Dec. 29.

The holiday concert will offer a warm, touching and energetic tone reflecting the joy and soulfulness of the season. The flavorful routines will stem from the familiar songs “My Favorite Things” (choreographed by company dancer Alexandria Flewellen), “Mary, Did You Know?” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” (both choreographed by DCDC Associate Artistic Director and company dancer Qarrianne Blayr), and “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls” (both choreographed by DCDC Director of Education and Outreach Services Shonna Hickman-Matlock). In particular, the company will perform to Anita Baker’s jazz rendition of “My Favorite Things.”

“Just as Anita puts her own special spin on ‘My Favorite Things,’ Alexandria is going to put her own holiday magic on it that will make people feel good and have a good time,” Hickman-Matlock said. “It’s a routine that will be uplifting and also remind everyone why we love the holidays so much.”

“It’s so jazzy and upbeat,” added Flewellen, a Wright State University graduate who performed one year with DCDC2 and joined the first company in 2017. “The song reminds me of my mom, the biggest Anita Baker fan. Due to so many things going on with COVID, I’m not sure we’ll be able to be together for Christmas so for my mom to watch the routine and have her favorite artist be behind my choreography is very special. Wanting to keep people you love safe, sacrificing actually being with them, is okay this holiday season. You can still be home for the holidays by calling your loved ones or having watch parties. Even if you’re not with the people you love the fact that your heart is with them can be enough. Christmas may not feel the same but knowing everyone is safe is the best gift you can give to anyone this year.”

Hickman-Matlock is also pleased with the additional selections.

“‘Mary, Did You Know?’ is a song I love,” she said. “It has such a powerful meaning, reminding us that even in these troubling times we will be healed and calmness will be restored. I really believe the song and routine will resonate with audiences. ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ speaks to the hope that the troubles we’re experiencing now will soon be far away. It also reminds us to lean on family and friends in order to keep our hearts light and abundantly joyful.”

On a more humorous, playful note, she is delighted about her comical routines, two parodies on the aforementioned holiday classics.

“I’ve rewritten the words to ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘Deck the Halls,’” she said. “I feel humor is healing for the soul. All of us could use some laughter. ‘Jingle Bells’ particularly pokes fun at our company dancers and artistic team as an inside joke.”

The finale will consist of clips from memorable moments of past DCDC holiday concerts such as “In the Spirit Of…” and “The Littlest Angel.”

The concert’s title takes on greater significance this year as families navigate a very different holiday season. Even so, there is excitement within DCDC thanks to the opportunity to offer another feel-good slice of virtual entertainment for the community.

“DCDC is essentially inviting everyone to come home for the holidays with us,” Hickman-Matlock said. “We want to bring joy, laughter and cheer considering the difficult times we’re facing. And during this time of much-needed healing, we hope to create memories and fun-filled experiences for our viewers. DCDC is not just about dance performance. We’re about connecting to our community. We consider our audience and viewers as our extended family.”

“I hope audiences feel joy and laughter,” Flewellen added. “This year has been about slowing down and looking at ourselves but knowing we have made it through the past 12 months, it’s time to reflect, enjoy and celebrate.”

“Home for the Holidays” will be available for viewing between 12 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 26 and 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 29. Tickets are $25. After you purchase your ticket, you will receive an e-mail with instructions for viewing the performance. For tickets or more information, visit DaytonLive.org. For additional information about DCDC, visit dcdc.org.

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