The Spirit of Christmas show is set to dance its way into everyone's heart at Chandler Center for the Arts next month with some familiar faces from Ahwatukee Foothills.
Performed by the Christian Dance Company, part of the Tempe Dance Academy, the production will feature more than 25 Ahwatukee Foothills residents and more than 100 performers in all, said Ahwatukee resident Gale Johnston, a volunteer at the academy.
She said the show will include performers from ages 3 to 35, and will offer something for everyone.
"It is truly something for the whole family," Johnston said.
This year's performances will include different types of dance, including jazz, Irish tap, ballet, salsa, ballroom, etc., and will also have classic White Christmas-type scenes and traditional holiday music.
"It's a melody of all of our favorite songs," Johnston said.
The show will also include dancing reindeers, snow ball fights and extravagant costumes.
"There will be non-stop entertainment," Johnston said, noting that this year a few students from Desert Vista High School and a large group from Mountain Pointe High School, including her own daughter, Kyndall, will be performing in the Christmas show.
Kyndall, a sophomore at Mountain Pointe High School and Tempe Dance Academy dancer, will be dancing in this year's Spirit of Christmas show for the third year in a row.
She will be performing in some of the larger group dances and is looking forward to being part of the show.
"I am very excited to be dancing," Kyndall said, adding that this year she is most looking forward to performing the kick-tap routine, which she says is similar to the famous routine the legendary Rockettes perform.
Wanda Manville, owner of Tempe Dance Academy, said the production is set up like a variety show with singers, dancers and guitarists.
"It keeps the little ones interested," she said, noting that the show opens with Santa Clause, toy soldiers and elves then moves into scenes from the nativity. It ends with the idea of peace on earth and offers different kind of dance routines from around the world.
"It's just lively," Manville said, adding that the Christian Dance Company starts preparing for the show in October and has people from all over the Valley involved. She said there are a few kids from Tucson dancing in the show and there will be some young adults coming back to the area just to be involved.
"It's very rewarding," Manville said.
This year will mark 23 years of the Spirit of Christmas show, a show she said is a big deal for the Tempe Dance Academy, and is one many people in the Valley look forward to year after year.
Manville said she overheard after one of the past performances: "It's like a Broadway show."
Johnston said she thinks the show is a Valley tradition and is very well attended.
"It's such a great way to kick off the holiday celebration," she said.
Manville said this year they are expecting hundreds of people to attend each performance and that the Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave., holds around 800 people or more.
Performances start on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 2:30 p.m., with another show at 7:30 p.m. Additional performances are on Sunday, Dec. 12 at 2:30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 18 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and on Sunday, Dec. 19 at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets are $24 and $28 for adults and $20 or $24 for kids 12 and under. Tickets are available online through Ticketmaster.com through the Chandler Center for the Arts website, or can be purchased at the box office the day of the performance. Some proceeds from the show will benefit the Child Crisis Center.
Chelsea Brown is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a senior at Arizona State University.