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Christmas classic, ‘‘Tis the Season,’ delights all ages

Monday, November 21, 2016

Start your holiday season with a visit to Fa-La-La-La Lane and the magical kingdom of the Sugar Plum Fairy as the Mercyhurst University Dance Department presents the fifth edition of ‘Tis the Season, its family-friendly holiday dance concert.  This year’s concert features the iconic ballet classic The Nutcracker Suite.

Performances will be offered on Friday, Dec. 2, at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m., and on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. All tickets are $5.

The Nutcracker Suite is set to the timeless music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, with choreography by veteran Mercyhurst choreographers Michael Gleason, C. Noelle Partusch and department chair Tauna Hunter.

Known for their beautiful productions, the Mercyhurst Dancers will be showcased in such favorites as the Spanish dance, the Arabian dance, the Chinese dance, the Russian dance, the dance of the reed flutes, the Waltz of the Flowers, and the Grand Pas de Deux with the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier.

Dancing featured roles in the suite will be Dominic Fortunato, Kathryn Galimi, Lacey Gigliotti, Roman Hall, Elizabeth Hite, Hunter Hoffman, Shelby Kolar, Margaret Rebuzzini, Haylie Schmidt, Danielle Silva and Jacob Washabaugh. Veronica Plys and Lucas De Marinis will alternate with Sarah Ruesch and Matthew Huefner as the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier.

‘Tis the Season producer Tauna Hunter says the program is especially suitable for families with young children. “The show is only an hour long, the show times are convenient, the tickets are affordable, and the dancing is absolutely terrific. These dancers display a maturity that you usually only see with professionals,” she adds.

Preceding The Nutcracker Suite and opening the program is Christmas Fun on Fa-La-La-La Lane. Choreographed by Mark Santillano, this original work with 24 dancers premiered in 2014 and includes the tunes Carol of the Bells, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Zat You Santa Claus?, Silent Night and more.

“This piece has everything,” says Santillano. “We’ve got tap dancers, Christmas carolers, dancing snowmen, and a stage full of very round Santas. It also has a sweet story that I almost guarantee will give your heartstrings a little tug.”

The Mercyhurst Dance Departments is again teaming up with Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania as part of its ongoing involvement with the community. With every full-priced ticket, and a donation of a non-perishable food item for the food bank, patrons can receive free admission for one child (12 and under).  

There will be live music in the lobby before the show and photo opportunities with the dancers after the show.

Tickets are available at the box office. Call 814-824-3000 or visit the Mercyhurst Institute for Arts & Culture at