Annual Holiday Dance Extravaganza by Downtown's After-School Kids

Fourth and 5th graders from the PS 276 after-school contemporary dance class perform to the song "We Are Family." Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Dec. 14, 2017

For the eighth year, Manhattan Youth staged its annual winter dance performance at PS 89—but with a difference. This holiday spectacular on Dec. 9, featuring 150 children from seven after-school dance programs, went on without Clara.

That’s Clara of “The Nutcracker,” the Christmas classic that has loosely inspired the past seven holiday shows.

“Clara has always had these different kinds of journeys,” said Susan Kay, who adapts and directs the shows. “So when I was thinking what journey should Clara take now, I thought, ‘You know, maybe Clara needs a rest. Let’s try something different.”

“I started thinking what New York is like during the holidays,” she added, “and how wonderful the window displays are.”

The colorful and energetic result: “Home For the Holidays,” a show billed in the program as a “stroll down NYC’s 5th Ave. viewing the holiday window displays through dance.”

Children from Peck Slip School, Spruce Street School and PS 225 took the stage in the first performance of the day, followed by PS 234, PS 89, PS 276 and PS 150 for the second show (seen in the video above). Dance teachers choreographed the pieces and Connie Tarbox designed their many and highly varied costumes, as she does each year.

For the kids, Kay emphasized, the short time on the stage is only a small part of being in the show.

“It's about the whole experience,” she said, “from learning the choreography and working as a team, to the dress rehearsal, putting their costumes and makeup on for the first time, waiting to get on stage and, finally, for the bows. It’s a joyful day.”