Dancing After-Schoolers Celebrate 'Holidays Around the World'

PS 89 students from the kindergarten and 1st grade after-school hip-hop class perform a dance in recognition of Bodhi Day, a Buddhist celebration in December. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Dec. 14, 2018

There was Bodhi Day and Three Kings Day. Diwali, Mardi Gras and Christmas. Winter Solstice and Hanukkah. This year’s annual December concert by Manhattan Youth’s after-school dance classes clearly earned its title: “Holidays Around the World.”

Nearly 350 children from 33 classes—jazz, ballet, hip hop, Latin and contemporary—took the stage at PS 89 on Dec. 8, with dances and costumes inspired by a colorful array of holiday traditions.

Samplings from one of two "Holidays Around the World" shows, this one by students from PS 234, PS 89, PS 276 and the Downtown Community Center. The other show featured dancers from PS 343, PS 397 and PS 225.

Last December, after seven seasons of loosely interpreted versions of “Nutcracker, Susan Kay, who directs the shows, chose to give Clara “a rest,” as she put it. The theme was “Home for the Holidays” in New York.

“We were home last year. This year we went around the world,” Kay said, noting that she tried to include as many traditions as possible. “Not to get too political, but with the world we live in now, it’s important for us all to celebrate diversity. And I was hoping that this, in some way, would support that.

Original costumes by Connie Tarbox, and brief recorded introductions by children about the different cultural traditions helped get the message across.

“I think, and I hope, it was a little bit of an education for the kids,” Kay said, “and maybe even the audience, too.”