“The Spirit of Christmas” show at Chandler Center for the Arts is as much fun for the performers as it is for the audience.

“We do a lot of the same numbers because our audience loves them,” said Ahwatukee Foothills resident Adriana Brady, 12, who has been in the show for the past seven years. “Everyone does the Christmas show and we all love it. It’s our favorite thing to do. There’s not a number I don’t enjoy.”

For 25 years the show has been kicking off the holiday season. It is a variety show with all different types of dance from tap and lyrical to ballet and hoop dancing.

“This is a variety show for the whole family,” said director Wanda Manville. “People don’t get bored with it like sometimes they do with the ‘Nutcracker.’ It’s got tumbling, jazz, ballet, singing, musical theater, ballroom, and every kind of dance and singing. It’s a professional level show.”

The first act involves children and a very traditional Christmas with Santa, reindeer and snowmen. The second half includes more of the nativity story. After that section the show goes into Christmas around the world with Russian acrobats, Irish tap dancing and a Spanish guitarist.

“It goes very fast,” Manville said. “It’s all about the spirit of Christmas. You don’t get tired of Christmas coming.”

Emilie Henrichson, 12, is joining the show for the first time this year. She said learning the moves was a little intimidating at first, but she’s excited to be part of the tradition.

“I want people to know how hard we’ve worked on the show,” Henrichson said. “I just want people to enjoy the show because it was a lot of fun to learn. There’s a lot of energy put into it.”

Manville said she has a lot of dancers who have graduated who come back to do the show each year. There are more than 100 performers in the show ranging from ages 3 to 28. The dancers have been practicing since the summer.

The dance company comes from Tempe Dance Academy, 1840 E. Warner Road, Suite 132. “The Spirit of Christmas” is hosted by Tom Booth, Jennifer Sedler and Mark Hart.

There will be performances at Chandler Center for the Arts on Saturday, Dec. 8; Sunday, Dec. 9; Saturday Dec. 15; and Sunday, Dec. 16. For more information, call (480) 820-0795 or visit ticketmaster.com to purchase tickets.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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