Holiday performance delivers 'happiness'

Holiday Dance
The Mercyhurst University Dance Department continues to celebrate its Happiness Season with the holiday concert “Happiness is ’Tis the Season” Dec. 6 and 7 in the university’s Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center.

“Happiness is ‘Tis the Season” offers a one-hour narrated presentation of three short works for the entire family. “This is our holiday treat for Erie,” says dance department chairperson Tauna Hunter. “New this year is our special family performance with all seats discounted to $5. We’re excited to offer dance especially for children and their families that will highlight all the delights of the holiday season.”

Again this season, “Babes in Toyland” will tell the story of two children on Christmas Eve. Created by the dance department’s newest faculty member, Melissa Bobick, it’s set to an adaptation of Victor Herbert’s original score. The children are drawn into Toyland where they meet and dance with lifelike toys only to discover that, while the toys are enticing and wonderful, being with their family is what the holiday season is truly about.

The Liturgical Dance Ensemble, directed by C. Noelle Partusch, will perform the spiritually based “Passion Sculpture,” choreographed to excerpts from J.S. Bach’s “St. Matthew’s Passion.” Flowing dancers with bodies lifted in prayer and surrounded by beautiful stained glass windows will help the viewer spiritually begin the Advent and Christmas seasons.

The Mercyhurst Dancers will also kick up their heels in “Santa’s Toy Shop,” complete with dancing elves, flying reindeer, tap-dancing soldiers, dolls and a cameo appearance by “you know who.”

The icing on the event will include a festively decorated theatre lobby, pre-concert holiday music, and costumed dancers greeting the audience after each performance for photo opportunities and a special treat from Saint Nick for each child.

Performances of “Happiness is ’Tis the Season” are slated for Friday, Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 7, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center on the Mercyhurst campus. The Saturday 11 a.m. concert is a special discounted family performance with seats priced at $5. Tickets for the weekend performances range from $5 to $15.50 and can be purchased by calling 824-3000. Mercyhurst students with an ID will be admitted for $3.50.

A preview performance will also be offered Friday, Dec. 6, at 4:30 p.m. with all tickets selling for $5 (limited balcony seating only).

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