“I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me,” Charles Dickens’ famous Ebenezer Scrooge declares at the end of A Christmas Carol, giving up his miserly ways for a new life of generosity. It’s this line that Deborah Mason’s Cambridge Youth Dance Company has plucked for the promotion of its terpsichorean retelling of the classic Christmas tale, “What the Dickens!” opening December 14th.
Just like its story’s hero, “What the Dickens”—celebrating its 10th anniversary this year—embraces the spirit of the past, the present, and the future. What began as a full ballet show has evolved over the years into a show that intertwines ballet, flamenco, tap dance, swing, contemporary, breakdancing, projections and narration to a score that ranges from Prokofiev to more contemporary tunes. Just as Scrooge looks back on his life, the young dancers of CYDP journey through various styles through the history of dance in “What the Dickens!”
“There are so many different kinds of dance that these dancers are capable of,” director and Boston Ballet alum Leslie Woodies told DigBoston. “They really have been trained in everything, and I had a great time finding themes and musicality with them.”
Woodies began directing the show two years ago. Then, creative producer Deb Mason told her she wanted to take the show to the next level. Now, “What the Dickens!” has moved to the John Hancock Hall, a larger venue that offers more opportunities to change up the show. The move has afforded the production some bigger, better props, extra special effects and more room for the dancers.
With expanded narration performed by local sports writer Steve Buckley, Woodies added, this year’s “What the Dickens!” will be a new show even for those who have seen it in the past.
“I want everybody to see it,” Woodies said, “Hey Boston,” she added, “There’s a new show in town and it’s not the Nutcracker.”
WHAT THE DICKENS. 12.14-12.23 AT JOHN HANCOCK HALL. 180 BERKELEY ST, BOSTON. CYDP.ORG