Backstage Pass – Behind the Scenes of Cascade Christmas 2

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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.

Starting rehearsals reminds me of the first day of school. The returning cast catches up on their summer adventures and continues the relationships they left last year. New cast members find their place in the family, realize how hard we work, and adjust to a change of dance styles. They must take their past dance experience and apply it to my style and the style of the Christmas show.

The Christmas show is like a machine for The Dance Project, but all the parts must learn to work together and we have so far to go. Sometimes it’s hard for me to imagine where we will be in November. I must remain positive with all of my casting choices and give them time. They will get it.

I have to learn new personalities and learn how to get the most out of them while not holding up our intense schedule. We learn fast but carefully. It is all in the details. Right now there is a lot of trusting in God and the fact that we have done this before. We can do it again. RIGHT?

– 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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2 Responses

  1. Doni Greenberg Doni Greenberg says:

    James and dancers, thank you for working so hard to produce a fabulous Christmas show. You make dance look … like work!

    And Tom, I love your videos! Thank you for bringing us along throughout this terrific project. By December we'll have a much better idea of what it took to create this production. 🙂

  2. Avatar james santos says:

    Thanks Doni, yes at this point in the game the "work" is very apparent. I think at the end of last nights rehearsal I just laid down on the ground and felt like melting into the floor. Also, getting home at 10pm, you can't sleep until you wind down, so that means dinner at 11pm a good episode of Wheel of Fortune and Golden Girls then time to hit the hay. Thanks for including us here this year.

    Hope to see you soon!