Backstage Pass – Behind the Scenes of Cascade Christmas 1

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Cascade Christmas, produced by the Dance Project under the direction of James Santos, has become a part of the holiday tradition for many North State families.  Filmmaker Tom Ramont gives us a 5-part series of short films, an inside look at what it takes to create a production of this magnitude, and reveals that our holiday tradition is a labor of love for James Santos and his Dance Project team.

Part 1: Auditions

Auditions are one of the most difficult but important things we do all year. We had more than 70 talented people audition to be a part of our season and only 34 positions available.

Energy fills the room. Young dancers in skirts, ballet slippers and hair pulled tightly back. They must learn one of the most difficult sections from the show.  All showed great concentration and positivity.

We could hear the lobby filling up with the older dancers awaiting their chance to dance and fill one of the few spots. Two combinations, dancing their hearts out, casting cuts.

Besides talent, we must consider the sizes of costumes in inventory and how dancers will fit in with the rest of our company: work ethic, attitude and performance.

By the end of the day we had seen over 50 dancers, 20 singers and a dancing dog. After today, we will cast the show and begin rehearsals.

– James Santos

Cascade Christmas opens Thanksgiving weekend for an 8-performance run.  For tickets, call the Cascade Theatre box office at (530) 243-8877 or visit

tom-ramontTom Ramont is a digital filmmaker who concentrates on producing documentaries and technical marketing films. He was inspired early on by the short films presented on Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, such as “How Crayons are Made.” Ramont creates simple films layered with humor and realism. He holds both a BA in Cinema Studies and an MA is Creativity and Interdisciplinary Arts Education from San Francisco State University. Reach him at

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5 Responses

  1. Avatar Erin Friedman says:

    Love it! Thanks for giving us this glimpse behind the scenes.

  2. Avatar Connie Blanc says:

    This is great…it is quite an amazing process! It is very easy to catch "The Dance Project" fever!

  3. Avatar Melissa Gulden says:

    It truly is a labor of love for James. He puts his heart and soul into each and every step so that the audiences will get the very best show! I am so proud to be a part of this amazing group of talented, dedicated performers. And I am so thankful Redding has someone like James: A class act. The real deal.

  4. Avatar Courtney Squellati says:

    One of the best experiences of my life (so sad I moved away). Thanks James! (miss you all:)

  5. Avatar Grammalyn says:

    Any time someone mentions the name James Santos, my first thought is "class". He is an honest and caring man who gives his all to put on a top notch show each and every time. Everyone who works with him learns about so much more than dance. The student cast learns how to work together as a team, and the adult dancers are helpful, professional and kind. Backstage buzzes with energy and talented loving people. I feel blessed to be part of The Dance Project family.