BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — We’ve all heard of dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh, but have you ever heard of dancing through it on an open stage? If you’ve stopped by the Belle Mehus Auditorium this weekend, you have — they’re reviving their Christmas Spectacular show to welcome the holidays with style.
The group has performed the spectacular four times in its history, with the last show taking place in 2018. Now, in 2022, it’s back with a vengeance, featuring enough routines, dancers, and music to make even Scrooge himself feel the spirit of the season.
Planning and rehearsals for the Christmas Spectacular begin months in advance — specifically, three months, when dance lessons and set design begin in Fall. Normally, things begin with the decor so that they can focus on the dancing more and more as the show draws near.
“When we prepare, we start in September,” explained show director Bailey Jangula. “We get all of our choreography, music, costuming, props, and backdrops put together, so when we get to the Belle this week we can really focus on the dancing. Some of our dancers even practice up to seven days a week leading up to the event.”
More than 400 dancers from the studio’s various classes took part in the show, leading to a gigantic showcase of everyone and everything that Let’s Dance has to offer.
A dance show is also set apart by the costumes on display during it, though, and believe us: the snowy spectacular had plenty in that department as well. Over 100 costumes made appearances during the show, both ordered and occasionally handmade, highlighting every aspect of the Christmas season. A few of our favorite costumes included Snowbunnies, Hershey’s Kisses, and old holiday staples like elves and reindeer.
There’s more to these dance shows than skill, of course: a major aspect that the dancers themselves enjoy is just how it allows them to have fun and work together. In many cases, especially numbers that involve pairs and group movement, trusting and helping out one another is key, and the nature of dance itself opens people up to these lessons.
“I enjoy how everyone comes together,” says the spectacular’s lead Toy Spirit Jaelynn Mason. “It’s our whole studio, and just seeing everyone perform on stage and give it their all is amazing. I think everyone really has a lot of fun in our productions.”
These statements are echoed by other members of the cast too. The show’s lead elf, Paige Mittleider, stated that she also loves the spirit it sparks.
“I love that everyone can just go out there and have fun,” Mittleider states. “The costumes, being with your friends, performing for the audience… it’s all a great time.”
In total, around 40 Christmas songs — both old classics and remixes with new twists — were played throughout the hour-and-a-half event, many of which had their own unique dances to go along with them. While there were many of the traditional features of a dance show, the Spectacular was also full of more special features, including a segment featuring UV-lighted boxes, an overarching story, and dancers of all ages, from teenagers to toddlers. We particularly enjoyed the ‘Sleigh Ride’ and ‘Winter Wonderland’ dances featuring the workshop’s younger participants, and plenty of the other more unexpected segments like the boxes or segments from the final three parts of the show.
By the end of the evening, the crowd was delighted by multiple massive numbers featuring dancers of every age and skill level, and a massive bowing segment taking up nearly the entirety of the stage. It’s a merry show for all ages, certainly, and anyone would be delighted to have such a performance ring in the holiday season.
While this year’s Christmas Spectacular comes to a close Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m., this isn’t the last thing that Let’s Dance has prepared down the line: in the summer of 2023, they’ll be bringing their hit performance of ‘The Lion King’ to the auditorium, featuring more magnificent dancing and costumes.
If you want to take an interest in some of Let’s Dance’s shining stars of the future, there’s a way to do that: it’s possible for a business to sponsor an individual dancer by financing their travel and lesson fees. Information on how to do so, and the Let’s Dance program itself, are available on their website and Facebook Page.