The holiday season will receive a boost this weekend with the return of Forever Dance Alaska’s annual Christmas show, “Forever Christmas.”
The dance company trains year-round for productions that feature dancers ranging from elementary school kids to company dancers in high school. The Christmas show, which features a cast of almost 300, is in its fourth year.
The cast has been working on it since summer, according to Forever Dance Alaska studio owner Darcy Swanson, who expects this weekend’s performances to sell out soon, based on the popularity of past years.
“It’s become the go-to, must-see Christmas show on the peninsula,” Swanson said. “It’s a great way to usher in the Christmas season.”
“Forever Christmas” has quickly gained popularity for its wide variety of styles. Everything from ballet to tap dance, jazz to hip-hop and contemporary acts are presented. Swanson said there will even be an opening number that will showcase the talents of the older dancers by introducing a singing performance of “When Christmas Come to Town,” from the Disney film “Polar Express.”
“We wanted to give them that experience, because it’s a skill set that’s tough to master,” Swanson said about the song and dance combo.
Swanson said that roughly three-quarters of the Forever Christmas show each year features new content, while the company typically brings back several classics. That includes “Breath of Heaven,” a nativity-inspired routine that the company performed last year to great praise from the audience.
“So many people approached me after the show in tears,” Swanson said. “They were grateful that we brought that to the stage and had the courage to do it.”
The nativity song presents the biblical story from Mary’s perspective, with jazz and tap teacher Kacia Oliver reprising the role of Mary. Swanson said the Joseph character will be played by local actor Spencer McCullough.
Another new addition to the show is a piece that several of the company’s teachers will be involved in, which Swanson described “like a sugar plum fairy fusion with hip-hop.” Swanson said Forever Alaska hip-hop teacher Marquece Blanks will be performing with alumni and teacher Grace Larson in a trap music performance that the audience will have to discover for themselves.
The night will end with the finale, “Angels from the Realms of Glory.” In between, the performance will feature a variety of styles, Swanson said, from a Santa Claus Rockette-style kickline, to the Parade of the Wooden Soldiers piece, which Swanson said is a toy soldier tap routine that the audience should get a kick out of.
The show runs Friday and Saturday with 7 p.m. showings, as well as a 1 p.m. Saturday matinee, at the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium in Kenai. Tickets are $6.