Young dancers are getting ready to perform in this year’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

by Page Curtin on November 18, 2015

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Tickets are on sale now for ’Twas the Night Before Christmas to be performed at the Woodside Performing Arts Center on December 6th, 12th and 13th. This year’s cast is comprised of ballet dancers from Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Woodside, Portola Valley, Redwood City, Los Altos, San Mateo and Hillsborough.

‘Twas was created in 1969 by Dancers Repertory Theater to give young and aspiring ballet dancers a chance to perform in a professional theatre setting other than the annual dance recital. Our daughter is seven-years-old, and this will be her third year performing.

Backstage is a wholesome experience, and it is very fun to see the little ones marveling at the older dancers. Over the years, the dancers get to “rise through the ranks.” For example, our daughter started as a “Teddy Bear” when she was five-years-old, graduated to a “Star” at age six, and looks forward to being a “Dollie” and “Little Santa” this year.

The real star of the show is director and choreographer, Coleen Duncan, aka “Miss Coleen,” who danced in the show herself from ages eight to 18. Later in her dance career, she suffered an infection from a failed kidney and pancreas transplant and has been confined to a wheel chair ever since.

Miss Coleen’s presence and command of the show has never been defined by her condition. She has been directing and choreographing ’Twas for 11 years now. It is a full-time job managing 75 dancers and parent volunteers. However, she does it seamlessly and asks for no compensation for her time.

’Twas is a little over an hour in length making for a family-friendly holiday tradition. Each year the Dancers Repertory Theater makes enhancements to the show from costume changes to new staging and scenery. Recently, the much anticipated reindeer received a new look, and Santa was given a twinkle-lit sleigh to ride on stage!

Tickets for this year’s six performances can be purchased online. Performances are at 1:00 and 4:00 pm each of the three dates.

Photo by Page Curtin (c) 2015

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