A delight by The Dance Project


Each year the show expands to include something new. And yet, the familiar elements continue to be a treat.

And I’m always impressed by the level of professionalism to all the aspects of The Dance Project’s annual “A Cascade Christmas” show. I saw Friday night’s performance at the Cascade Theatre and went home a satisfied customer once again.

It’s the kind of show that compels you to take out-of-town guests and then proudly mention: “Yeah, this is all local talent. This is a completely home-grown performance.”

If you’ve ever tried to do an artistic project that involves collaborating with others, your brain kind of gets scrambled when you consider what Dance Project director James Santos and his crew come up with twice a year.

The high-spirited large ensemble dance numbers are always my favorite thing to watch — excellent dancers executing precise moves with Santos’ creative choreography and the always splendid costuming of Cindy Sumsion. You can’t say enough about Sumsion’s creations: a array of gowns and outfits from several different eras that pop out from lush backdrops (some created by Redding’s David Frasier).

When you start really breaking the show down, you realize just how pro it is. The lighting design completely complements the look of the performance. The child performers are not sloppy in their dances. The video featuring the KRCR Channel 7 news team is fun and well thought out. The Cascade Cuties vocalists nail their harmonies and continue to improve their numbers each year.

Everybody knows about the show because there’s a huge, effective marketing push. The show gets a ton of return customers because there’s a high standard being attained. That Santos keeps them coming back tells you all you need to know.

The storyline of the show is cute and just cohesive enough to tie everything together. I think it might be nice to see a little bit different theme next year.

I LOVED the addition of the large animal costumes. This was a completely memorable new segment that had to be a treat for younger viewers. It was a nice contrast to see those large costumes and the cute way they danced. I could hear the audience’s approval all through this new segment.

I’m not an expert at critiquing dance, but the level of execution, while not perfectly flawless, seems darn impressive to me. (By the way, I’m kind of worn out on the whole “Dancing with the Stars,” “American Idol” thing anyway. It’s fine for the local “Dancing with the Stars” charity event, but in general, it’s nice when artistic endeavors can breathe and not be so contrived.)

I like to see passion and originality and honesty. I can forgive an awful lot from someone who’s really loving and believing in what they’re doing.

There are several more opportunities to see “A Cascade Christmas.” Please comment with your own thoughts (even if you want to do the “Dancing with the Stars” judge thing).

• Performances are: Nov. 29 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Dec. 4 at 7 p.m.; Dec. 5 at 8 p.m.; and Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

• Tickets cost $15-$25 for adults and $10 for children 17 and under. They are available online at http://www.cascadetheatre.org or by phone at (530) 243-8877 or at the Cascade Theatre Box Office, 1733 Market St. Redding. Tues.-Fri. 11A.M. – 6 P.M.

Click here to go to the Redding Dance Project Website.

Jim Dyar

is a journalist who focuses on arts, entertainment, music and the outdoors. He is a songwriter and leader of the Jim Dyar Band. He lives in Redding and can be reached at jimd.anewscafe@gmail.com